Here’s a few things I have learned as I am trying to focus on discipline in my life. One, I still need some serious help with this discipline thing. Two, I need to keep working on organization and time management. Three, I need to get better at focusing on a few things at a time instead of trying to do it all at once. Four, the grocery store can be a great place to get a discipline lesson.
I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from my bible study the other day to pick up a few things we had run out of. It was meant to just be a quick in and out trip and for the most part it was. However, it also turned into a lesson for me on discipline and one that I had not expected to learn.
Temptations at the Grocery Store
As you may know, I am trying to be more conscious about what I eat. For me that means cutting back on processed foods and other artificial ingredients. Since those types of things are all over the grocery store, it can be tempting to buy something that I used to be accustomed to eating.
I have not struggled too much with the changes I have made so far. But on this particular day I saw my former favorite coffee creamer as I walked by the dairy case to grab some eggs…uh-oh! Store bought coffee creamer is one of the first things I switched out of my diet. It’s been over a month since I have had any. It has actually been a lot easier than I thought it would be to make this switch. That was until this bottle of white chocolate raspberry caught my attention.
Now this isn’t just some random creamer, this is the creamer that I would long for all year-long and happily jump for joy when the store finally had it on stock. Sometimes I would be lucky just to get a couple per year before it was no longer available. So when I saw it there I was so tempted to grab it. I questioned whether it was worth or not and what harm would one bottle do. But I remembered my commitment and the fact that up to this point, I have done so well with this particular change. I didn’t want to blow it now so I decided I better keep walking.
My Lesson on Discipline
I didn’t think much more about the creamer until I was making my way up to the checkout and I saw a display of cheeze-its that were on sale. These were another weakness of mine. I used to almost always have a box in my cupboard and often times ate way more than I should. I stopped buying them a few years ago to save money as well as my waistline. Today however, I must have been keenly aware of the temptations lurking on the shelves because I seriously thought about picking up a box. It was on sale after-all!
This is when I finally realized these temptations in the grocery store were teaching me discipline. Sure I could have grabbed that creamer or those crackers but I would it would have been a clear disobedience to my commitment to eating better. So I chose be be disciplined and not buy these things that I had previously decided were unhealthy for me.
The Put-Off/Put-On Principle
My discipline lesson reminds me of the passage in Ephesians about putting off the old self for the new self.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV
The passage is referring to putting off old sinful desires of your former self before you were saved because you are now a new creation as 2 Corinthians says:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV
My lesson at the grocery store is certainly not a salvation issue. However, The put off and put on principle is still applicable. I have committed to start putting off unhealthy habits and replace them with healthier ones.
I am not saying you are a bad person or somehow less Christian if you eat these things or that I am in any way perfect in this area. This is just an example of how I noticed it in my life. I am still working on what healthier eating means for me and I still have a long way to go.
For you it might be putting off a bad habit like gossip and replacing it with encouraging words. Whatever you need to put off, consider today how you can work on being more disciplined in that area.
So even though I didn’t get anywhere with the challenge last week, I learned that discipline isn’t just about keeping a schedule or finishing a project. Discipline is also about taking practical steps to stick to your convictions and your commitments. <— Tweet That! I may not have accomplished everything I set out to do last week, but I took some steps in the right direction and for now that is good enough for me.
Have you ever learned a valuable lesson from an unexpected or ordinary place?
What are you working to put off and put on in your life?