Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 12 : Practice Secret Disciplines | Day 84

Be Patient for Public Rewards!

A young man named George was impressed with a group of fellow students at Oxford University who met regularly for Bible study and prayer. They also did many good works in the community. Other students mocked this group, but George decided to join them and began developing Biblical disciplines, including fasting.

The problem, however, was that the group was trusting in these disciplines for their salvation. In his obsession with becoming acceptable to God, George fasted for more than six weeks straight until one morning he noticed that his hands were turning black. Eventually, he did not have strength to climb the stairs of his dorm, and fellow students began to ridicule him by saying, "What has his fasting come to now?" He was put to bed for many weeks, during which time he came to understand that salvation is through faith in Christ alone and not by works.

After George recognized that faith and trust in Christ was all that was necessary to make him acceptable to God, he continued to maintain Biblical disciplines such as fasting and giving to the poor.

What became of his life is legendary. Crowds of more than 20,000 flocked to hear him preach in the open air, preparing America for its Biblical foundations and impacting its leaders. The man was George Whitefield--a spiritual giant in the world.

John Wesley, who impacted history, stated, "Don't seek after a ministry; rather, anticipate the fruit of a disciplined life."

Paul pleaded with early believers to follow a disciplined life so that in later years God could work mightily through them. He stated, “In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work” (II Timothy 2:20-21).

Every person who wants to excel must embrace the disciplines that are required to reach the goal.

During my teenage years, I sincerely wanted God's best for my life. He showed me that this would require the surrender of many things that my Christian friends enjoyed. Yet God seemed to be saying, "If you want my blessing on your life, then do not compare your freedoms with your friends' freedoms, but rather compare your disciplines with Christ's." I adopted the title of a little booklet as my personal exhortation: "Others may, you cannot."

What things have you excused in your life because everyone else does them? Some of the most powerful books that have ever been written are the daily accounts of men and women of faith who described the victories and defeats of their daily disciplines. On this day of journaling, it would be excellent for you to record for future generations your experiences of developing spiritual disciplines.

Give secretly; pray secretly; fast secretly; "... and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:1-18).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard