Summary: We train ourselves to run the race ’marked out for us’ if our children are to run this race of faith!

What Parents Owe Their Children

A Course of Discipline

November 11, 2001

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1

I will examine the testimony of God’s people

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses…” Heb. 12:1

Discipline requires effort, just as anything worthwhile requires effort. One of the historic tensions in Christianity is between those who think a person can become a Christian overnight, and those who think a person becomes a Christian over a lifetime. Both are, in a sense, correct. It takes the moment of conversion, the moment of baptism, to make suddenly, a new Christian. But the process of developing Christian virtues, Christian character, a Christian life, takes a life of discipline.

There’s no microwaving yourself, or others for that matter, into mature Christianity. It takes a regular, constant immersion in the testimony of God about God

“Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way.”

2 Timothy 3:16 – The Message

- Nobody drains a 17-foot putt in a million dollar golf tournament out of blind luck. For that single moment of their life, they put in hundreds and hundreds of hours worth of training and practice.

- Establish a regular regimen of spiritual exercise – and stick to it.

I will evaluate the course I’m on

- Someone once said “Careful grooming may make you look 20 years younger, but it still won’t fool a flight of stairs.”

Bill Hybels, writing on self-leadership says, “This is self-leadership. And nobody—I mean nobody—can do this work for you. You have to do this work yourself. Self-leadership is tough work—so tough, Dee Hock says, that most leaders avoid it. Instead, we would rather try to inspire or control our people than to do the rigorous work of reflection.”

All of us have some wounds, some losses, and some disappointments in our past. All that stuff has helped shape or misshape us into the people we are today. Leaders who ignore their interior reality often make decisions that have grave consequences for the people they lead. Most of the time, they’re unaware of what’s driving their unwise decisions. Who’s responsible for your interior issues getting processed and resolved? You are.

- On the trip to Atlanta I was reading an article about Tiger Woods…

“Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it.” 2 Corinthians 13:5 The Message

I will eliminate all obstacles and diversions

“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…”

“Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.” Ephesians 4:22-25 – The Message

British statesman Edmund Burke argued, "men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains on their own appetites. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there is without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters."

During his term as President of the U.S., Lyndon Johnson was somewhat overweight. One day his wife challenged him with this blunt assertion: "You can’t run the country if you can’t run yourself." Respecting Mrs. Johnson’s wise observation, the President lost 23 pounds.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. [3] Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:2-3

I will embrace the path of Jesus

- whoever want to come after me will pick up his cross and follow me…

- the path of Jesus is a path of sacrifice

“This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves.” 1 John 3:16 – The Message

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