Carolyn and Paula's Take: Discipline is consistently applying one's energy in the same direction in order to achieve a desired outcome. Thinking about discipline in relation to this month's topic of God's Design for Women, the question becomes how can we consistently direct our energies to support the goal of embracing God's design for us as women? God's purpose for us as women is to bear, more and more, the image of Jesus Christ (God Himself) or bear much fruit. (John 15:7-8, AMP). The work of becoming more like Jesus Christ is directed by and fulfilled by God's energy. That is, only God has the power to make us like Jesus Christ. (Philippians 2:13, AMP). So then, what is our part? Our part is to submit ourselves to His will consistently. Our part is consistently applying our powers of choice to choose what God has already revealed to be His will for our lives. This is where a daily practice of reading God's Word is important because much of what God would have us to do has already been outlined in Scripture. (Romans 12: 1 - 2, AMP).
Think about your job description-your course outline for school - in order to excel at your job or at school you need to exercise some form of discipline. So it is with being disciplined in God's design for your life. In fact, this requires for us to be even more disciplined. Think of it, He foreknew us and predestined us to conform to the image of His son. (Romans 8:29, AMP). When you receive this revelation from the Holy Spirit-that God has chosen you and created a specific, good and holy plan for you-it convicts your heart of just how important it is to exercise discipline so that you can enter God's design for your life.
The Bible says: "But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also." (Matthew 6:33, AMP). Therefore, we must keep this as our primary pursuit:
a. Learning His way of doing things and being right through the daily study of His Word. His Word tells us what His will is and shows us what it looks like to live it out perfectly in Jesus Christ. So we must read and study to learn more about and of Jesus. How He walked is how we are to walk. So we must sit, under the Holy Spirit's instruction to learn how our Lord operates. (Luke 6:40 and John 16: 12 - 14, AMP).
b. Walking out His revealed way of doing things and being right by the power of the Holy Spirit consistently. We have to be so careful to apply what we learn. Sometimes, we want for the whole picture. But, God is waiting for us to take the first step. God is waiting for us to be obedient to what He has already made plain and to continue in it. It is in the continuing in His Word that we grow in our closeness to truth-the truth that sets us free and supports us in entering His perfect design for our lives. (James 1: 22 - 25 and John 8: 30 - 32, AMP).
c. Pray against distraction. The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10, AMP). Distraction interferes with discipline as it hinders you from hearing God's voice. When we become distracted it becomes hard to hear the Good Shepherd's voice and therefore continue in the way that He has prepared for us. (John 10: 11 - 18, AMP). We are led one Word at a time. So, we must pray against distraction and be intentional about prioritizing one-on-one time with God and the fellowship we share with other believers.
We're so glad you enjoyed your time with us! You came to the gathering of believers in Jesus Christ-the Church-and it was a blessing because He made Himself known in a special way as we put Him first. He is the source of all good things-righteousness, joy, peace, you name it! (James 1:17, AMP). We hope you will bring a friend or two along with you the next time we gather!
Carolyn and Paula's Take: Wow! This is a tough one. The horrible effects of sin on God's good creation are so clear when we look at the ways in which women have been treated over time. We see our gentle and beautiful frames idolized and despised at the same time. We experience a real and historically substantiated fear of being caught off guard to our detriment in the private places of our bedrooms, places of work and even the church. God protects us. Yes, He supernaturally guards our lives (spiritual, emotional and physical). (2 Samuel 22: 3, AMP). But, I also believe that one of the primary ways in which God protects us is through instructing us in wisdom and then equipping us to live in agreement with this wisdom. In the book of Proverbs we see that wisdom is freely given. (Proverbs 2: 6, AMP). We also see wisdom, personified, begging us to take heed. (Proverbs 1:20, AMP). In James' letter to the New Testament church we see these truths echoed: God gives wisdom to all who seek it (in His written and declared Word) and those who live it are blessed. (James 1: 5, AMP and James 1: 22, AMP). God's wisdom is directed to His aim to give us life and life to the full. (John 10:10, AMP). I think that Abigail's history in the Bible is a great example of how heeding God's wisdom can safeguard our lives and the lives of many. It is found here: 1 Samuel 25: 2 - 42, AMP.
Carolyn and Paula's Take: The times change, but God remains the same-and so do His purposes. We can think of time in segments. But, God's view is of a continuous history, marching towards its culmination in the return of Jesus Christ. And for all women in all stages of time God has called us "from the beginning for salvation through the sanctifying work of the Spirit [that sets you apart for God's purposes] and by your faith in the truth [of God's word that leads you to spiritual maturity]. It was to this end that He called you through our gospel [the good news of Jesus's death, burial, and resurrection]' so that you may obtain and share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Thessalonians 2: 13 - 14, AMP). Scripture points us to surrender to the truth that we are His workmanship and then to be directed to a joyful exercise of the gifts and talents He has given us in a way that shows just how wonderful He is. (Ephesians 2:10, AMP). So what we do over time, in different seasons of our lives, will be unique for each of us. However, it will all be a part of us being made more in His likeness and showing off His goodness. I think I think another part of Ephesians 2:10 that is worth noting is that the works are prepared in advance, so we know what we do in each season as He reveals it. We don't have to make up things to do. We don't have to make up our purpose. We get to enter into a beautiful life that He's already numbered and prepared. (Psalm 139: 16, AMP). We need to seek God's wisdom so we can know how to engage His unique design for us in each season. (James 1: 5 - 6, AMP).