The Discipline of Relationship, Part 2

I’ll never forget as a college freshman learning that I could have a personal relationship with Jesus.  I had been a believer for many years, but I never knew God desired to have a relationship with me.  I was hungry for something else in my faith, but I didn’t know what.  So when I heard other believers talk about their relationship with Jesus, I knew I wanted what they had.  So they introduced me to the practice of having devotions – we called it a “quiet time.”  They gave me some instruction on how to have devotions and I began to get up early each day to meet with the Lord.

It was terrible.  Day after day I would try to hear the Lord speak to me as I read the Bible, attempted to pray and tried to listen.  Frankly, it seems the only thing I was successful at doing was falling asleep.  It truly was becoming a “quiet time.”  I was getting discouraged and was finding it harder and harder to find the discipline to continue.

I needed help.  I needed a coach, someone to show me how and to encourage me. I told a friend of my struggles and how defeated I felt.  He agreed to meet with me and have devotions with me.  He became a coach, a model, a mentor and a cheerleader for me.  Over the years I have read about how others have devotions, I have been in studies on the subject, and I have had others act as my devotional mentors.  All of these provided the discipline that I needed to develop a strong devotional life.  Today I no longer need others to provide the structure and discipline.  Thirty-seven years later, I am self-disciplined with my devotions.  I love meeting with the Lord.

Are you having trouble developing the discipline needed to have a consistent devotional life?  Do you wish you had more self-discipline?  The answer is not to try harder.  You will never develop self-discipline by exercising more self-discipline.  If you had self-discipline, you wouldn’t need to try harder.  You need to find discipline from outside of yourself.

coachWhen I went out for gymnastics as a high school sophomore, I knew nothing about gymnastics.  I needed a coach to teach me everything.  I needed a coach to motivate me to put in the hard work to become a gymnast. I did not have the self-discipline to become a good gymnast.  My coach is the one who provided the discipline I did not have.  As the years went by, I became less and less dependent on a coach to provide the structure and discipline necessary to be a gymnast.  I became self-disciplined.  Without discipline from my coach and the accountability of being on team, I would never have developed that self-discipline.

Devotions take discipline.  Most of us do not have the self-discipline to have the daily devotions that are necessary to nurture our relationship with Jesus.  We need help. We need people in our lives to create the discipline until we have become self-disciplined.  Who is your coach?  For some ideas of how to accomplish this, check out my post entitled, “2 Ways to Devotional Consistency.”

The Power of Jesus Becoming Flesh and Blood

Scripture

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. (Hebrews 2:14-15)

Observation

Jesus had to become flesh and blood in order that his death and resurrection might destroy the power of death over us, once and for all.  Therefore, the devil’s power over us has been defeated.  The only real power he had was death.  Now that power is gone.  We no longer need to fear death.  It can have no permanent impact on our eternity.  The communion elements of the bread and the cup represent the fact that Jesus became flesh and blood like us.  Had he not, we would still be living in fear of death.

Application

I can face death with great hope and expectation for the resurrected life that awaits me.  I can point others to the hope that I have.  I must always remember that those who face death without Jesus are afraid, whether they acknowledge it or not.  I have good news to share with them.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, you are so loving to do everything necessary to defeat death for us.  You became flesh and blood to defeat death and to destroy the power of the devil.  I will not fear him or his power.  Greater are you in me than he who is defeated. I love you, Jesus, my brother and my Savior.

Wiping Away My Tears

Scripture

For the Lamp at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eye. (Revelation 7:17)

Observation:

John saw a great multitude standing before the throne of God wearing white robes.  He was told that these were those who had come out of the great tribulation.  This verse speaks to the fact that now they have Jesus, the great Shepherd, who will care for them.  He will wipe away their tears.  They will have gone from great tribulation to great comfort and healing.  Complete healing.

Application:

What I see here is that tears won’t just immediately disappear in heaven.  They will be healed by Jesus.  In other words, there will be tears for the loss due to the hard times and for the losses I have endured in a broken and cruel world.  There will be tears of release and joy that I have escaped that forever.  And there will be weeping at the very presence of the glorified Jesus.  But he will be the one who comforts me and wipes away my tears of grief.  He will heal me completely.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I can’t wait to come into your presence and have you heal my heart once and for all.  I can’t wait to feel your hands on my cheeks, wiping away my tears.  Come, Lord Jesus.  Come!

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