Self discipline. When I take my dog for a walk, it seems more like he is walking me than me walking him! He gets so excited to be out and about and walks full steam ahead with his nose to the ground. I find myself walking as fast as I can, arm fully extended because of the pull on the leash. I hope against hope that he doesn't pull my arm out of socket, or cause me to totally lose my balance toppling over, finding myself being dragged through the streets behind a German shepherd on a mission! On one such walk, I passed a neighbor on the street who said, "Are you walking him, or is he walking you?"
This scenario doesn't play out when my husband walks our dog. Why? Because my husband has trained him to be obedient to his voice. He did the hard work early on to bring our dog under submission. That sweet puppy walks and heals and stops and stays depending upon the command he is given by his master. My husband disciplines him and trains him to do what he wants him to do. Me? I let him run right over me! I like the fun parts of dog ownership; the wet kisses, the lovin', the playin', the warm fuzzy comfortable parts.
Unfortunately this is how I have been about myself for many years. During my prayer time several weeks ago I told the Lord that I knew I was playing around the edges of self-discipline, that even with the progress I've made and the goals that have been attained, I still feel like I'm in a battle. It's like I'm fighting myself constantly and being dragged to and fro. That's when the Lord gave me this picture of my dog pulling me down the street! "Yes!" That's exactly what it's like! God is so faithful to speak and answer when we are praying according to his will. He makes it so clear if we will just seek his wisdom.
I'm in training. I have to do the hard work, but even when the initial training is over, I will have to listen to God's voice and continue to obediently bring my "self" under submission. If I don't, chaos will ensue.
This is the path I've been on for several weeks. This path of self-discipline. When old ruts have been driven deep in the hard clay of my mind, it is hard to pave a new path, but God has walked with me each step of the way with constant encouragement form his word, reminding me daily what I need to do to.
Just this morning I read these words in my devotional book and afterwords I simply said, "Wow!" I've been hit right between the eyes, but I am encouraged and reminded that he is still with me on this path. He continues to speak. Here are the words I read:
"Be instant in season, out of season." 2 Timothy 4:2
The word instant here actually means persistent. Oswald Chambers says this, "Be instant in season, out of season, whether we feel like it or not. If we do only what we feel inclined to do, some of us would do nothing forever and ever. The proof that we are rightly related to God is that we do our best whether we feel inspired or not."
I am to be a woman of self-control and self-discipline and am not to be dragged to and fro. And I am definitely not to be ruled by my feelings or lack of feelings at any given moment.
God never fails. He gives a picture, a word, a thought, an illustration, an experience, a person, whatever it takes to teach us the truth we need.