It happens every time I come home from a weekend away (which doesn't happen often enough) or when one of the kids is home sick from school (which happens every now and then). I get distracted, lose my focus, and find myself wanting to do anything but what I am supposed to be doing. Today -- actually, everyday -- I'd rather be doing anything but marketing my books or working to build my speaking ministry although I want God to use me to make a difference in the lives of others.
I have heard it said often, and uttered the words myself, that writing is the easy part of having a book published. With two devotional books under my belt and a recently published magazine article I can say with all honesty that I would rather write than try to promote what I have written. Selling has never been something I enjoyed although I have had some limited success selling cosmetics and marketing myself for different jobs I have held. But when it comes to marketing my books and promoting myself as an author I am waaayyy out of my comfort zone. In many ways, God has done a much better job of marketing my books than I have, but he still expects me to do my part. Until I do, book sales will remain flat and the impact I have in the lives of others will be minimal.
Recently, I listened to a sermon by Dr. Charles Stanley, an anointed and articulate pastor and Bible teacher. In his message, Discipline Determines Destiny, Dr. Stanley said, "It is discipline, not just desire, which determines your destiny and mine." He talked about self-discipline in several areas of life, such as parenting, eating, exercise, financial management, and our spiritual routines, but his words convicted me most in the area of my writing and speaking ministry. Realizing that it will take more than desire alone to sell books or make an impact on the lives of those who are hurting and discouraged, I am determined, by God's grace, to become more disciplined in terms of the time and effort I put forth to market the books God gave me to write and to take advantage of every opportunity to encourage others with the truths of his Word. It isn't enough to desire to make an impact. In order to be an effective servant, I must first pray about the work God has called me to do then get up and do it!
When we are not self-disciplined in areas of our lives, then God in his love imposes divine discipline in order to correct us and conform us to the image of his Son. He holds us accountable for what we do with what he gives us. Whether it is being a good steward of the financial blessings he bestows, speaking a word of encouragement to a weary store clerk when the opportunity presents itself, or sharing the life-changing Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ, there will come a day when we all will stand before him eager to hear him say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord."
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