When I was younger I had trouble staying focused on one thing at a time, and even now as an adult there are still those moments. How I dealt with it was through disciplining myself, focusing only on the task at hand and forcing myself to stay on that task until I was complete with it. It wasn't easy, but that's how it is, easier said than done.
As Christians we have a lot to deal with in our lives. We're supposed to live according to God's word and not by the world's. There are times in our lives, especially for those who are new Christians that we seem to have a hard time living a Christ like life. That is where discipline comes into play. That word discipline means to train ourselves to do something in a controlled habitual way. Another way to put it is that we need to deny ourselves.
There are many distractions in our world that can keep us from having a relationship with God, and if we don't discipline ourselves these things will continue to distract. Video games, TV, friends, phones, any of these things can distract us from our walk with God. You could be just about to head off to church when your favorite show comes on and you choose the show over Him, that is how the devil distracts us. Using our flesh against us.
"Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit, the things of the spirit" - Romans 8:5 (NKJV)
Paul is stating that if you live your life seeking earthly pleasures that is where your mind will be. You're focus will not be on God. Living according to the spirit is far more beneficial to us, the problem is that it's a lot less attractive. It's like looking at two types of food set on a table, on the one side of the table is a meal of Thanksgiving proportion with your favorite beverage. While on the other side is some broccoli, carrots, a good looking salad and some water. Yum! I'm sure a lot of you would love the Thanksgiving meal, but it represents every fleshly desire, sin. While the healthy food represents the spiritual things that we need. You have to discipline yourself to say no to temptation.
A few years ago I started running to lose weight. At first it was hard for me to get into it because I was overweight and I hated the feeling I felt after running for a minute or so, (I couldn't last longer back then) and there were days I didn't want to go. It was those days that I had to force myself to go, discipling my myself. Paul wrote:
"Everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown." - 1 Corinthians 9:25 (NKJV)
That word temperate could be replaced with self-denying, or moderate, or disciplined! Temperate is showing moderate or self-restraint. I had to show self-restraint when I was losing weight because not only was I running but I couldn't eat what I wanted. Before I knew it I had lost 60 pounds. All because I denied myself the pleasures of my flesh. Eating only foods that were good for me, and less than what I was used to. Like the scripture says though it was to obtain a perishable crown. The crown I'm after now is the crown I hope you're after, the imperishable crown.
Where should we be disciplined in our lives? Pretty much everywhere. Our thoughts, our emotions, our tongues (speech), what we listen to, what we watch, our prayers, how we dress. We can't say we're Christians and live however we want, we have to deny ourselves and live as Christ lived. "That's impossible, no body can be perfect." You're right, nobody is perfect, but that's why we have grace. Jesus came so that we could be liberated from death, and reconciled to God. Through Him we have the grace to live according to God's word, we just have to discipline ourselves to do it.
"For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can it be. So then those who are in the flesh cannot please God." - Romans 8:6-8 (NKJV)
Only through obedience and self-control can you overcome your sinful mind. I've had to, it's a constant thing to deal with. Everyday you have to overcome the flesh. Galatians 5:24 (NLT) talks about that. It says that those who belong to Christ have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. You don't have to do it alone, pray and ask God to give you the strength. There are also people you can talk to, maybe find an accountability partner.
My prayer is that you find this helpful, even if you are still asking how. Know that He is always with you, right by your side in all things. It's no mistake why you're here, many are called few are chosen. Be disciplined in the Lord, and follow His ways, because He is loving, and merciful. God Bless!
- Mike Copeland