Decide, Determine, Discipline

Unless you’re writing one, a self-help book is an oxymoron. You read a self-help book so that someone who isn’t yourself can help you. This is true of all do-it-yourself book and personal improvement books. You might be able to gain some benefit from some of these books, but none of them are there to deal with the complete “you.” All except one–the Bible. It is the complete and eternal blueprint for our lives–the ultimate “self-help” book because the Author knows every aspect of “you.”. You may feel defeated, depressed, disillusioned, sure that no one appreciates you? How can you change that?

Decide, Determine, Discipline

To make a change in your life you must do three things. You have to decide you want to make the change. There is reason why starting to follow the Lord is called a “decision.” As the old song says, “I have decided to follow Jesus.” Other decisions may be to quit smoking, to lose weight, to exercise more. Ultimately, your biggest decision will whether you will follow the Lord. But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15) Yet how many times have I “decided” to lose weight? And how many times has that friend of yours “decided” to quit smoking? Even as a new Christian, deciding is just the first step.

If you’re serious about your decision, you must determine what you are going to do to support that decision. If I decide to lose weight, I can’t just continue to eat anything I want, while not exercising at all. It just isn’t going to work. Find a support group or a partner to team up with and be accountable to each other. And as a Christian, Carefully study to present yourself approved before God, a workman that who doesn’t need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (II Timothy 2:15) But sometimes even this step will not be enough.

Once you’ve made a decision and determined how you are going to attempt to bring it about, you have to discipline yourself to follow through on your plan. As a former runner and coach, I always recognized the importance of training and discipline. In fact, Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. (I Corinthians 9:24-27). Just like an alcoholic can benefit from an AA program, Christians need the support of like-minded people. Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

I’ve made a lot of decisions about different areas of my life. Not all have met with success. When I trust in the Lord, and read His Word, and look to other, more mature Christians; then I find success. Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success. (Proverbs 15:22)

So why do I need do these things to be successful? For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13) Because on my own, “my best just ain’t good enough.”

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