New Year, New You, New Discipline?

Our Good Word Project team is so excited to begin another year of writing, encouraging and sharing with you! Thanks for joining us here as we launch into 2019 with a new word, DISCIPLINE. It’s the perfect word for this time of year, don’t you think? Most people are eager to create new habits, healthier lifestyles and deeper meaning in their lives. All of these things require discipline, likely more so than what’s been employed in the past. So, this word can be exciting and hopeful and challenging all at once.

One discipline with which I have routinely committed to begin each new year is a five-day juice cleanse. It includes five juices per day to flood my body full of vitamins and minerals while simultaneously flushing the toxins out. By not eating during this time, it allows my body to redirect energy that would otherwise be used for digestion and put all those fresh nutrients to work. Our bodies are such smart creations, and they know precisely the best use of this energy, whether for healing, reducing inflammation, or oxygenating blood. At the end of the five days, the goal is to “reset” my body (and my carb and sugar cravings!) and help it to reach a refreshed, more efficient and energetic, less acidic (and less bloated) state. I love the way I feel when I’m done!

Make no mistake, though, it’s a long five days. Of course, the obvious challenge is that I’m hungry and would prefer to be eating. I drink a juice about every two hours, so right about the time I become “hangry” versus hungry, I get to open another bottle, which satisfies me for a short while. But, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hungry and wishing I could remain healthy eating a carb-loaded, sugar-laden, fat-filled diet. As well, I typically get a headache for the first few days. That’s likely a symptom of caffeine withdrawal — no coffee is a killer for me! And there’s more…I get cold. Really chilled. The juices are cold, and I’m sipping them all throughout the day. It’s so hard to warm up, and it’s not a great idea to do a hard workout while juicing, so I can’t work up a sweat to counteract it. I hate feeling cold, and I have to bundle up and stay close to heat sources constantly! Lastly, there’s often fatigue and frequent trips to release all the liquid surplus (I tried to think of the nicest way to say it!)

It’s definitely a discipline to complete the five days without cheating or giving up, but as I mentioned up front, it’s worth it for all the benefits I gain. These five days train my body and brain to crave better foods movie forward and, overall, to function more effectively. It breaks bad habits and unhealthy patterns, and it sets me on a course for better health and more energy.

Isn’t that what discipline does?

Discipline is all about course-correction and training. It teaches us and sets us up for success. Discipline is so good for us, because it steers us toward what’s best for us.

When we discipline a child, it’s to help them learn, often times for their own protection. As adults, we might discipline ourselves to work out, eat healthy foods, read the Bible daily or pray consistently. Each of these things reap great rewards.

Discipline matters to God.

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV)

This verse tells me two things: 1) Discipline matters so much to God that He ensures we gain it through the Holy Spirit, and 2) since He gives it to us, He assuredly wants us to use it!

Whenever I question the value of discipline, I often look to Jesus, who was quite disciplined Himself. I ask myself, if He gained benefits from being disciplined, who am I to think that I don’t need it for myself?  Jesus was consistently disciplined in His obedience, going so far as sacrificing his own life and enduring suffering for the benefit of all humanity. Prior to that, He was often seen going off alone to pray and have time with God. He was disciplined to learn more, put others ahead of Himself and to give grace upon grace upon grace when I’m certain his own humanity was feeling the effects of fatigue, stress and constant demand from His followers. He was a perfect example, and while we are not expected to reach that same perfection, it is important that we use this gift God is giving us.

Discipline leads to blessings.

As is the case with every gift God gives, He does so because He loves us, and because discipline leads to blessings. Jesus tells us He wants us to have full and rich lives (John 10:10) and being disciplined leads us there. Consider the riches and rewards in these examples:

  • We discipline ourselves to eat nutrient rich foods, and our minds become sharper, our blood is cleaner and our organs are more efficient.
  • We discipline ourselves to exercise, and we gain strength, stamina and energy.
  • We discipline ourselves to read the Bible, and we learn more of who God is and how much He loves us, which helps us to trust Him with our lives, reducing stress, increasing joy, bringing comfort and perseverance when needed.
  • We discipline ourselves to pray more, which creates deeper intimacy with the Lord and gives us hope, purpose and direction.
  • We discipline ourselves to schedule adequate sleep time, and we feel refreshed, energized and more focused.
  • We discipline ourselves not to gossip, and we increase trust and respect among friends, setting the tone for others to do the same.
  • We discipline our desires, and we have healthy, faithful, enriched marriages.

The list can go on and on…but the best part is that we don’t have to conjure up discipline on our own. God gives it through his Spirit! We are not alone! Discipline is a team effort for those who place their faith in Christ! Oh, what a relief that is and what hope that brings to accomplish our goals!

So, bring on those resolutions, draw closer to the Lord and arm yourself with discipline like you’ve never had before. Cheers to the New Year, to your success and to the joy of a juice cleanse! What will you be disciplined to try?

Pray with me… Lord, you are such an incredible Giver. You know our every need, and You don’t want us to carry burdens we shouldn’t. How amazing You are that you would give us discipline, and Lord, that’s just what I’m asking for now. Please help me to receive from the Holy Spirit just what I need to accomplish Your will in my life. I pray, Lord, that you would help me to do what it takes to be healthy, strong and energetic to accomplish your purposes. Please remind me when I start to go astray and bring people into my life to help and encourage me to remain disciplined. You are a perfect example, and I pray, Lord, that you would guide me to become more like you every day. I believe, with You, all things are possible. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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