Don’t Give Up – Part 4 – March 27th, 2014

Beloved Saints of God
 
Another work/school weekend is upon us and probably you are one of those who have a very troubling habit of procrastinating. Maybe in your case it is as edgy as putting certain key things off until the very last minute. Or, it could be as hurting as just finding it too hard to stick to most of the things that you plan to do. Whichever of the aforementioned it is in which you find you are lacking discipline, based on our three previous devotionals, you ought not to lose heart. Here are some steps that you could follow.
 
1. Pray.
Praying is an acknowledgement of our weakness and an expression of our dependence on God. The Bible says that the Lord knows those who are His, that Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscriptionThe Lord knows them that are his. And, Let every one that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity (2 Timothy 2:19). The Bible also says, James 5:16 that the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much, (the “righteous” being the saints, those who have given their lives to Jesus as their Saviour and Lord). Through many ways God will guide and strengthen you when you pray.
 
2. Acknowledge your weakness
Call them “weakness” if you like or “areas of improvement” but why do you have that weakness? Why the lack of discipline? Why the whatever-it-is? In our society, we are encouraged to acknowledge strengths and disparage weaknesses. So in response what do we do, we turn all kinds of tricks learning to hide any weakness that we may have and consequently act like we never had, that they do not even exist. But you know very well that no matter what we do, our weaknesses always seem to have their own mind and life and therefore make their presence known and most embarrassingly, at all the wrong times too!  Fact is, though, that trying to hide your weakness and emphasizing your strength is itself a weakness. We have to acknowledge our weakness and I’m not the one saying so; this is what the Bible says: Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. It means we can fail; our bodies can fail us. And Jeremiah 17:9 says The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who canst know it? I the Lord search the heart. So we must guard against the body and the heart with truthfulness and prayer. With your confession, you will grow strong because we read in 2 Corinthians 12:9, And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Know what? When you acknowledge your weakness it frees you to be honest with yourself and with God Who is able to move magnificently on your behalf.
 
2. Don’t put yourself down for being undisciplined.
Instead of hammering yourself to pulp, bear in mind that it’s not unusual and that with the power of the Holy Spirit, self-discipline is something that can be both learned and mastered though it’s just likely to take time as it will involve dismantling old and well-entrenched habits. Figure out which one of those weaknesses is most detrimental to you; then with prayer, start addressing it.
 
3. Consider and ponder the reason(s) why you want to discipline yourself. Is there a particular goal that you’re trying to achieve but you feel certain obstacles are getting in the way? For example, you want to lose weight but hate to exercise or, you keep sleeping in when you want to be an early riser or, you want to overcome your fear of public speaking but always cringe when you have to make a presentation to only two of your colleagues. What is it? Start by having some quiet time with the Lord then with yourself to think through this, and do not rush it. Patience is a virtue.
 
4. Develop a Response and Action Plan (RAP). Write down the vision and make it plain, says Habakkuk 2:2. Respond to what you have discovered in the preceding by developing an Action Plan for yourself. Responding could be the beginning of self-discipline. Action planning is simply a process, which will help you to focus your ideas and assist you in deciding what steps you need to take to achieve particular goals that you may have. It leads to the Action Plan. Why do I encourage an Action Plan? Because I’ve learnt that people don’t plan to fail. Instead they fail to plan. Do you plan to fail? “No!” will be your answer. So then, plan so that you don’t windup failing.
 
5. Start to implement the RAP. Make an honest assessment of the list, what you can and cannot change. If you don’t have an agenda, get one in order to start recording your progress, challenges, bumps, etc. Keep this up for as long as is warranted in order to be well informed if it is working for you, or not.
 
6. Periodical Review of the RAP. Do this intermittently, as needed, as well as at the end of the time period for which you’ve been implementing it. For example, examine your progress by consulting the notes that you have recorded in your agenda, whether good or bad. Use wisdom in your reactions.
 
7. Don’t give up! In implementing your RAP, you may face difficulties or challenges. Hence, the “Don’t Give Up!” You may not be achieving the full results you hoped for, maybe not even your objectives. But this is where you should not allow yourself to become intimidated, disappointed, tricked and or discouraged. After all, it is part of the learning process and with learning, there are failures, trials and errors, as we saw in the case of Edison and his light bulb, Gates and his Traf-O-Data, Jay-Z and a host of others. However, when you give up, then it is sealed and you’re sure to never ever achieve your goal. Keep a prayerful, committed and persistent and a never-say-die attitude.
 
Proposed prayer: “Dear Lord, I am grateful for these few steps that You have shared with me. Help me to be persistent in my decisions and in trusting You. When I am weak, then You are strong in my weakness so I acknowledge my weakness. I ask that I maintain while You sustain my focus on You and in the steps I need to follow to realize my goal. Also please help me to NEVER ever give up. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
 
May your weekend be saturated with creative and bold thoughts.

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