Houston Forward Times

04 December 2013 Written by  James Washington

Spiritually Speaking...

I believe discipline and confidence are spiritual tools to be used as such. Discipline is an amazing thing as it takes a fair amount discipline to have and maintain one’s faith. Coupled with confidence and interpreted as Godly, the two are tools to be used to walk the walk and talk the talk. I believe when this is understood, internal power is the result; not ego or pride but knowledge and assurance. The example I’d like to use are those saints who were in the Upper Room, when the Holy Spirit came upon them in the form of "tongues of fire." The result was a newfound power of discipline and confidence. They already had faith, but after this they also had the power and grace necessary to spread the Word of God throughout the world.

When you think about this in terms of before and after, it can only be the result of sanctified confidence and discipline. Prior to this moment, the faithful were huddled in secret, being …well being faithful to the belief that what Jesus told them was true. God would send another. The ‘Other’ turned out to be the Holy Spirit who imbued them with a discipline and confidence so powerful, it changed the world. The ability to communicate aside, scripture illustrates that through the Holy Spirit, discipline combined with confidence gives us the power to stand and deliver testimony that withstands undermining by an envious world. Accepting and utilizing these tools allow us to be unable to deny God in favor of man’s laws. Like Peter and John said before the Sanhedrin after the day of Pentecost, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God; for we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." Acts 4:19-20. The operative phrase here is "cannot help speaking out." This is the same Peter who denied Jesus three times; an act of cowardice, or a man bereft of confidence and discipline.  I guess what I’m trying to say is when all is said and done, you’re supposed to speak about what God has done for you. Did I say speak? I meant shout. "When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God with boldness." Acts 4:31.

You remember Paul at Ephesus? "When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them and they spoke in tongues and prophesied." Acts 19:6. My point is faith based discipline and spiritual confidence that is powered by the Holy Spirit can be quite liberating; even in the face of public criticism, which for most of us is really private criticism from friends and family. It is positive and powerful. It is fortifying this courage we receive via the Holy Spirit. Some call it being set apart. It is not always understood by those closest to us and lets us stand up as Christians in the face of adversity, temptation and yes, criticism of the worst kind. Yes we will all fail more than we’d like but, we all have the infrastructure to shore up those weak spots because we know they exist. Finally let me make myself perfectly clear. I believe the discipline coupled with the confidence that I seek, will be found when the Holy Spirit takes up permanent residence in my heart and soul. It is my desire and my forever quest. I wish for discipline and I pray for confidence. I anticipate I will be rewarded for this ultimately. I pray the same for you and when it does happen as always.

May God bless and keep you always,

James