A Year With Oswald – Week 33

by | Dec 11, 2012

OSWALD: “We go wrong because we stubbornly refuse to discipline ourselves, physically, morally, or mentally. ‘I wasn’t disciplined when I was a child.’ You must discipline yourself now. If you do not, you will ruin the whole of your personal life for God.” (December 10th)

MY THOUGHT: I knew from the moment I started blogging through “A Year with Oswald” I would struggle with discipline. Being a reluctant writer, I’m fairly amazed that I’ve made it through 33 weeks of the scheduled 52 (with the help of a few guest bloggers, thank you very much!)

But as those of you who follow my blog may have noticed, the goal of posting every Friday eventually pushed back to posting on Saturday, then Sunday or Monday. For the past few weeks, my “Friday post” has appeared on Tuesday.

So much for discipline.

I was just bemoaning that fact to God in my journal this morning. My blogging isn’t the only part of my life feeling the lack. There’s a renewed strain on my waistband as well. After losing 30 pounds this year, I’m currently straddling the must-not-go-past line on my scale. It’s time to do something about it. But that’s going to require the renewed discipline of telling myself, once again, no.

No, you don’t need that Christmas cookie. No, eggnog is not your friend.
No, Joanna. No.

Because you see, I have a problem. Unlike many of you, once I start saying yes to my flesh, she tends to take over. And believe me, my Flesh Woman has no idea what the term “everything in moderation” means. She’s into excess. Excess food, excess shopping, excess escapism. Excess excess.

That’s why God puts such a high premium on discipline. He knows that our flesh is in direct opposition to His rule and reign in our lives (Romans 7:23). That’s why He’s given the Holy Spirit to help us live victorious lives. To help us stand against the whining manipulation of our flesh that demands we give into her every whim, fancy and craving. But we’ve got to dethrone our natural self if Jesus Christ is to ever be enthroned in our lives as Lord.

That happens best as we learn to say no to ourselves. Such discipline isn’t meant to deprive us, but to set us free from the bondage of wanting more, always more. For as we push back against the idolatry of self, something amazing happens. As we begin to willingly sacrifice what we want, we mysteriously begin to receive what we need.

I love how Oswald Chambers puts it: “God is not with our natural life while we pamper it; but when we put it out in the desert and resolutely keep it under, then God will be with it; and He will open up wells and oases, and fulfill all His promises for the natural.”

God doesn’t want to withhold good things from us – He longs to bless us! Right here. Right now. Wells and oases for our souls. Fulfilled promises for our natural lives. But such richness is only possible when we cooperate by sacrificing the natural so that God is able to release the supernatural.

Now that’s what I want. That’s what I need. Ain’t no Christmas cookie or cup of eggnog on earth that compete with that!

Don’t you think it’s time to start saying no to our flesh so we can say yes to our God?

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