Sunday, September 30, 2012

Why you need a punch in the face

...but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:27

I casually looked up the word discipline in the above verse. I was rocked by what I read. We so easily use the words discipline and disciple but I'm not sure we are ready for what Paul is talking about here. Another version uses the word buffet.

Here is the definition: This verb means to strike on the face with resultant disfigurement; to beat black and blue. It's a boxing metaphor.

Paul is using strong words because he knows disqualification is possible. He knows that a body and soul needs serious treatment if they are going to line up with God's ways.

But it's not just the physical body that needs a punch but something far deeper.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 1 John 2:16

Are we serious about what it takes to escape the damage and corruption of the world? What we see, what our body wants, how we think more of ourselves than we should; these things can push out God.

How about this: You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin. Hebrews 12:4

Jesus sweat blood in the garden as he struggled with the battle that was ahead. What kind of fight do we put up when tempted? Do we give a punch to the face or wimp out and surrender?

So why do this? Is it because we are on a glum journey to holiness? No, it's because there is a joy and peace we can experience when we are making progress in our walk with God. The hard work has a reward that far surpasses the struggle to attain it.

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Hebrews 12:11

Our struggle is not new: And Jesus said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Luke 22:46

Don't let the things of the world lull you to sleep. Wake up, pray, and when necessary, punch yourself in the face - your eternity depends on it.

Philip

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