The Challenge: Self Discipline and Self Denial

I am currently reading A Woman After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George. Within chapter 1 lies a huge challenge that requires much discipline and self denial. Does it ever! The section in the chapter is speaking about HOW to become a woman after God’s own heart. The 1st way that Elizabeth gives is – Choose God’s ways at every opportunity. Referencing Proverbs 3:6, she explains what that looks like in daily life.

I wake up and the day begins. As I merrily go about the business of life, a crisis suddenly arises. The phone rings, and it’s bad news or a decision needs to be made. I try to remember mentally – and even physically (as Mary did) – stop and check in with God. I pray, “God, what do You want me to do here?” I endeavor to simply pause in my mind and spirit and acknowledge God. That’s my part of the partnership. It may take a split second or some minutes in prayer.

Or I’m again merrily going about my day – and I run into someone who says something that hurts me. Before I blurt something our, before I give an eye for an eye (or a word for a word), I try again to stop… pause… sit mentally in God’s presence… and lift my thoughts to Him: “O.K., God, what do You want me to do here ? What do You want me to say ? How do You want me to act ?” I even ask Him, “What expression do You want me to have on my face as I listen to this person say these things ?” I acknowledge God. That’s my part.

And then God takes over and does His part – He directs my paths. Often it’s almost as if the next thought to enter my mind is from Him. Because I ask Him for direction and want to do things His way – not my way – He directs me. He instructs me and teaches me in the way I should go (Psalm 32:8). He guides me in what to do, how to act, and what to say. God is faithful to His promise: “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying ‘This is the way, walk in it'” (Isaiah 30:21).

Gosh, just reading that, I am reminded of how I fail in that area. Too many times when I hear some disappointing news or someone says something disparaging, I don’t seek God on my response. I just respond as Jenn would respond. What a challenge that is to seek God on ALL things! It’s beautiful though because you get to see the Lord keep His promises in yet ANOTHER way! I’m excited to start the discipline, but the excitement will turn to frustration because dying to self can be difficult at times. Like anytime you sustain injuries to the flesh, there will be some pain, discomfort, and scabbing… BUT you will heal and become stronger by the grace of God. This is a great book though. I pray the Lord uses it to shape me and continue to transform me into the woman He would have me to be.

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2 thoughts on “The Challenge: Self Discipline and Self Denial

  1. B. Morr says:

    I’m not even a woman and this was edifying for me. Good stuff. Thank you for sharing this, Jenn. I think we all needed to hear – or READ, rather, what was said here. Responding to life circumstances, our own sinfulness and people in a way God would have us is TOUGH. But necessary nonetheless. I was so convicted to continue to view things through a biblical perspective rather than my fleshly, wicked-heart driven eyes. Great stuff.

  2. Jessica says:

    Hi Jenn, you have a wonderful blog! It is a blessing. I enjoy visiting it and reading your thoughts. I also hold to the Reformed faith. It’s very encouraging to see another sister in Christ who loves the Lord, who loves to learn more of God, who love His truth. And your blog reflects that about you. It’s refreshing and inspiring. May our wonderful Lord continue to bless you with His wonderful grace.

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