December 18, 2017

The Three Dimensions of Discipline — Part 3

Jerry Sivnksty

In the last two articles I’ve presented the areas of discipline that are crucial in our lives. First, the discipline of the mind by memorizing and meditating on the Scriptures. Second, the discipline of the body by eating properly and exercising regularly. Now I’m going to discuss the third area of discipline, which deals with the heart.

We often say of someone, “He has a tender heart,” or “He has a heart for others,” or “He has a heart for the things of God.” What we are referring to is the inner being of that person. The apostle Paul said in Romans 10:1, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” This is what consumed the life Paul; he wanted to see the Jews saved. I have often said that we must keep our hearts warm for souls and our vision clear for service. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.” You don’t have to be around a believer very long until you sense what dominates his inner being, for it will come out of his mouth! The same is true of an unsaved person; what dominates his heart will come out of his mouth. In Matthew 15:19 the Lord said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” When you hear an unsaved person cursing, telling filthy jokes, and talking of his affairs, he is exposing his heart — that is, the longings of his life. A true believer wants to guard his heart, and he’ll desire to have a disciplined heart. This desire can be accomplished in two ways.

First, by worshipping the Lord. Recently I had meetings out in Arizona. The pastor invited a lawyer to attend our services. The lawyer was disturbed about the direction his own church was going and made the following statement to this pastor friend of mine: “The God that my church preaches is not the God that is messing with my life, because the God that messes with my life demands worship and commitment!” What a profound statement! The Lord does indeed demand worship. When the Devil tempted Christ to fall down and worship him, Christ answered in Matthew 4:10, “Get thee hence, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” The Lord wants us to worship Him, and many of His people are ignorant of how to do this. I can’t go into all that’s involved in true Biblical worship, but I will state a few thoughts. Worship must always be with a clear concept of who God is; that is, His personality and attributes. Jeremiah 9:23, 24 declares, “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” We need to know Him! He is God (Elohim), which means He is the all-powerful, faithful Creator of the universe. He is Lord (Jehovah), which declares that He is the self-existent One whose main attribute is holiness. When a person worships the Lord, he will praise and glorify Him for who He is. Pastor David Whitcomb from Greer, South Carolina, says, “True worship is centered on God’s Word and is only for those who believe that Word.” Worship that goes contrary to this is false worship.

Second, we discipline our hearts by witnessing. True worship should be followed by witnessing for our Lord. For example, in John 4 when Jesus talked to the Samaritan woman at the well, she was shocked that He would even talk to her. In John 4:9 she said, “How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.” In their conversation the subject of worship was brought up, and Christ said in John 4:24, “God is a spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” She replied in the next verse, “I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.” Then in verse 26 we read, “Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.” When she recognized that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah, her immediate response was to witness to others about Christ. She said in John 4:29, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?”

When we truly worship the Lord, we cannot be silent in proclaiming what He has done for us. Worship will be followed by witnessing of the Lord’s wondrous salvation He has given us through His Son.

Jerry Sivnksty is an evangelist based in Starr, SC.

(Originally published in FrontLine • December / November 2005. Click here to subscribe to the magazine.)

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