When we say we need discipline, it leaves a bad taste in our mouths. It’s basically exposing our weakness. It’s admitting that we are not strong in our own strength. The discipline that P. Seth and P. Jacob were speaking on was dealing with being a good steward of your soul, just as we need to be a good steward of our bodies.
When we fast, we don’t just give up something. The reason so many fail at fasting (which I have many times), is mostly because they don’t replace it with the Word. The discipline is not the fast. Fasting is a tool. The discipline is the part when you purpose in your heart to depend on the Word of God to sustain you, and that’s what makes the fast successful. That is the purpose of fasting!
Jesus very often withdrew to pray, to spend time with Dad. When Jesus prayed, it wasn’t rehearsed and presented. It was raw and it was His heart exposed. Even if there was no sin for Him to confess or to repent of, He still had to gain strength from the Father to overcome temptation. Prayer is a tool. Exposing your heart to the Lord is the discipline. Hebrews 5:7-8
One discipline I struggled with was reading the written Word of God. I listened to a lot of messages. I thought that would sustain me, but I was sorely mistaken. I slipped back into a former lifestyle that I thought I was done with. I idolized theatre, I was drinking a lot, I was smoking a lot, I went into another deep depression, I ate my emotions, and I even contemplated leaving my husband and kid to do theatre. I actually made plans to do just that. Some of this I haven’t opened up to many people about because that was such a dark time. But the reason I have to show you the incredible amount of stupid things I slipped back into is to show you how no spiritual discipline can put you at risk to stop serving God. Even listening to all those great messages that our church puts out for FREE, those second-hand revelations could not sustain me. I was depending on someone else to bring the Word to me. While it’s needed that we listen to our pastors, they cannot replace the dependence that we need to have on our Father.
Once I figured out where my dependence needed to be, I found that these tools that God gave us to use, He is also using for me. But it’s not just for me, it’s so I can serve others and bring the Word of God to them.
If you’re wondering what spiritual discipline looks like, read the Gospels and follow Jesus’s life.