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MEN: Train to be Like Daniel

What is a Habit?

‘Habit’ means “a regular tendency or practice that is hard to give up.”  Now that could be a good habit, like prayer, fasting and following after God like Daniel in the Bible, or it could be a bad habit, like getting drunk, drugs, porn and so on. Personally, I am not a fan of the word ‘Habit’.


So instead of Habits, we’re going to talk about ‘Spiritual Disciplines’.  It’s not a very sexy word but I will do my best it.

What is Discipline?

So, what is discipline? Discipline is the key to accomplishing anything in life. From getting buff with 6 pack abs, to getting a promotion at work, good grades at school, to being an accomplished musician or athlete, to building relationships, and even to - our Spirituality.

Discipline is the mother of all genius. Discipline is everything. We won’t get anywhere in life without it. Daniel was a disciplined man and that’s why we are studying his life.

How do we Train?

1 Timothy 4:7  says “Train yourself to be Godly.” According to God’s word, discipline in our spiritual lives is very important.  It says we need to TRAIN to be Godly. Becoming Godly, just doesn’t happen.  We need to work at it!

Webster says to “Train” means ‘to teach someone the skills needed to do something, to give instruction to OR to cause someone to develop an ability or skill.  So, what does this mean for YOU, - for ME? It sounds like - Effort? Persistence? Perseverance? In other words, HARD WORK! 

To TRAIN will require some physical sweat. In biblical terms, ‘training to be Godly men’ will require some “SPIRITUAL SWEAT’. Is this making sense?

Hebrews 12:1  says “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. . .”

What Hinders our Walk with God?

What is it that hinders or entangles our walk, or according to this verse, our run with God? Right, SIN!

So, what does it say we need to do with it?  We are to throw it off! Get rid of it!

Back in biblical times during ancient Greek athletic contests, athletes would train with no clothes on.  Why? Seems a little odd to me. So they had no hindrance.

So if we are to excel spiritually, we need to strip ourselves down to our spiritual nakedness. To train ourselves for godliness means we need to strip off our sin so we can direct all of our energy toward godliness.

So here’s my question to you.  What do YOU need to throw off right now that’s hindering YOU or is entangling YOU from growing in your relationship with God? “THROW - IT - OFF!”

Many of us want to throw it off but have a hard time getting rid of the sin that’s holding us down. Why do you think that is?  Our selfish sinful nature? Our flesh? Where we get our pleasure? It’s become a crutch?

1 Corinthians 9:25-27 says “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.  No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

What is the Cost to Spiritual Discipline?

So, is there a cost to spiritual discipline?  You bet!!  What could greater discipline cost you? Time? Effort? Your reputation? What others might say?  Are you prepared to pay the price?

Being a disciplined like Daniel from the Bible is hard, it’s tough, and it takes perseverance. In other words, being a successful Christian is a sweaty affair.  Not all men are willing to do it.

Listen to this Quote:  “No manliness, no maturity. No discipline, no discipleship. No sweat, no sainthood.”

True or not true? How do you feel about this challenge? Are you willing to pay the price?

Why be Disciplined?

So why be disciplined? In todays world, disciplined Christian lives are an exception rather than the rule.  Why?

For some, they just don’t care. For others, it has to do legalism.  Legalism is fear-motivated. In other words, they feel they need to do it to be loved by God.

Real Spiritual Discipline though is God-motivated.  I want to do it because I love Jesus and what He did for me on the cross. “Which one are you?”

How does Spiritual Discipline and Legalism Differ?

So how does Spiritual Discipline differ from Legalism? Legalism causes us to do spiritual things out of duty or fear.  Out of have to, rather than want to.

Spiritual Discipline frees us from the gravity that pulls us down and allows us to soar with the saints and eagles.

The opposite happens with sin in our lives and the lack of spiritual discipline. Sin will hold us down or ground us or cause us to fall flat on our face in our relationships with God, our wives, our kids and our friends.


But repentance from our sin and spiritual discipline gives us the strength to soar and to defy gravity.  To go beyond ordinary to - the EXTRAORDINARY.


Isaiah 40:30-31 says “Even youth grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will rise up, defy gravity and soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

So, what about you? What’s grounding you or holding you down spiritually?

Which do you practice? Spiritual Discipline or Legalism?  Is a change needed?  If so, how can you bring it about?

Did you know that according to most polls, men are less spiritually disciplined than women. One poll said that 71% of women believe God can solve their problems but only 55% of men believes He can.

Why do you think that is? For one, it might be the American male credo of self-sufficiency & individualism that says ‘I can do it on my own. I don’t need anyone else’s help.’  America & the church of America need REAL MEN.

1 Timothy 4:7 & 8  says “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

So, what can spiritual discipline do for your life?  It can allow you to soar, defy gravity, excel, do the extraordinary, influence eternity, & more.

Can we really become disciplined men of God?  Or are we just setting ourselves up for defeat? 1 John 5:3  says “This is how we know we love God:  By keeping his commands and (I love this next part) they are not burdensome.”

According to this verse, we CAN do it. It will be challenging, but it shouldn’t be a burden if our hearts and minds are in the right place.

Luke 9:23

In Luke 9:23 it says  “Then Jesus said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Let’s break this verse down.  Jesus said “Whoever wants to be my disciple they must do 3 things”

The First Thing?

What was the first thing?  RIght!  The first thing we are to do to become a disciples of Christ is ‘to deny ourselves.’ When it says “to deny yourself”, it means. . .to deny our ‘flesh’ or that “me first” sinful nature that lives inside of us that wants to live independently from God and his commands.

It means as a believer, we are to deny our rights . . to have things my way, to look at porn, to flirt with other women, to lose control of our tongue, our anger, our thoughts, our eyes and so on.

As a non-believer, you have the right to do whatever you want because you don’t believe in the bible and don’t feel you need to deny your flesh, or your me first sinful nature BECAUSE a non-believer doesn’t believe they have a sinful nature.

The Second Thing?

What was the second thing we are to do?  Right! The second thing we are to do to become a disciple of Christ is to ‘take up OUR cross daily’.

When Jesus says to “take up your cross daily”, He means to daily take up the life Christ gave us. Living by His Spirit that lives inside us. Dependent ON Him, not independent OF Him.

Some describe our “Flesh” and God’s “Spirit” that lives inside us like 2 dogs at war against each. Here are a couple examples that I’ve encountered.

One day I walked out to the mailbox to get our mail.  As I thumbed through my mail I spotted a Victoria Secret Catalog that came for Laurie.  Because of my exposure to porn at an early age, my flesh was craving “Randy, take a look”.  Nobody will know.”  I could actually feel my body heat rise. I’m serious MEN.

My flesh wanted to look BUT my spirit was saying ‘NO!’ honor God, and your wife with your thoughts and your eyes. I threw the magazine in the trash can in the garage. My flesh and God’s spirit were at battle inside of me. God’s spirit won!

Another time I was in Amsterdam because my daughter had gotten sick on a flight coming home from a mission trip in Hungry and was taken to a hospital.  So I flew there to be with her.  While she was recovering, I would go for walks in Amsterdam.

One evening, I happened to walk through a red light district.  I didn’t know it was a real thing.  There were girls standing in the windows of a brothel waving at me as I walked by.  I could feel an intense pressure come over me as I walked by.  I kept my eyes facing forward ignoring them, prayed and walked as fast I could.  As I walked & prayed, I could feel a calm come over me.  God’s spirit won again!!

So we have these 2 dogs waging war with each other inside us.  Which dog is going to win? Of course, the stronger of the two!

Which One is Strongest?

Do you know which one will be strongest? The one that you feed the most. Do you know which one will be weakest? The one that you starve.

So to kill your “Flesh”, you need to starve it.  Whatever is tempting you to sin or dishonor God, starve it!  Don’t do it!!

To grow your “Spirit” to make it stronger, you need to feed it with God’s word, fasting, prayer, regular church attendance and doing what you’re doing today reading this post for men.

The Third Thing?

The third thing the verse says to do to become a disciple of Christ is ‘to follow Him’. To follow him means - to follow His commands; to read and study the Bible; to pray with and for our wife and family; to guard our heart, eyes, and mind; to work hard at work; to be a witness wherever God places us; to be involved in a bible believing church like this one; to be men of character with honesty, integrity and perseverance; to watch our tongue and the words that come out of our mouths; and to be a leader for Christ.

Manhood and Christlikeness are What?

Be sure to write this down. . .  “Manhood and Christlikeness are synonymous.” This means, if we want to be a discipled Man of God, we must be like Christ.  We need to look at his character and learn from him. We need to. . .

1)Deny Ourselves

2) Take Up our Cross Daily

3) Follow Him.

I like to start the morning before I do anything else by going through a daily routine of prayer, Bible reading, doing a Daily Marriage Devotion to keep me focused on my marriage, and I recite something called ‘The Fellowship of the Unashamed’. I haven’t always done this.  It’s developed over time.

If I’m not able to go through my routine in the morning, it feels like something’s missing. It’s like walking out the door without your pants on.

I’d like to start with what I do for prayer.  I use an acronym - P.R.A.Y.  I got the letters for this acronym from Matthew 6:9-13 which is the ‘Lord’s Prayer’.

Verse 9 starts by saying “This, then, is how you should pray.”  Notice, this verse is not saying this is what you should pray, it’s saying this is how you pray.

It goes on to say “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” This is the P in PRAY and it stands for Praise: So, I start out by giving God praise by saying words that describe Him and bring Him honor and give Him thanks and praise.

For example, I might start by saying Father,Son, & Holy Spirit; King of Kings & Lord of Lords; Prince of Peace, The Great I AM, Wonderful Councilor, My Rock, My All in All, and more. I give him praise and thanks for what he’s doing in my life.

The verses goes on to say “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  This is the Y, for ‘Yield’.  I put all of my prayers in God’s hands and ‘Let Go and Let God’ be in control.

Then it says, “Give us today our daily bread.” This is the A and is for ‘Ask’. I ask the for my needs or daily bread for me, my family and friends.  I ask God to bless my wife Laurie and our relationship.  I pray for each of my daughters and their men and grandchildren.  I pray that they would all fall madly in love with Jesus and for their protection from the evil one. I’ve prayed for a number of you in this room.

The Lord’s Prayer finishes with And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” This is the R and it stands for Repent. I repent of any sin in my life and ask God to Help me to starve my flesh and feed my spirit.  To Guard my eyes & mind.  I ask God to help me read the Bible and good books and to avoid anything that might cause me to sin.

I keep all of this on my computer and when God answers a prayer, I cut and paste it in an “Answered Prayers Section.”  You guys, I’ve got pages upon pages of answered prayers.  It’s been really cool to see God move in my life.

Remember, Daniel’s courage was developed over a lifetime of prayer.  So, each one of us need to decide. . . Where we will pray?  When we will pray?  What we will pray about?  And when will we start?  Hopefully sooner than later.

Did you know that among those who are married and pray with their wife daily, the divorce rate is 1 out of 1,153 according to an article called “Prayer Saturated Kids” Equipping and Empowering Children” from Navpress Colorado Springs, CO.  (2007).  In other words, families who pray together, stay together.

Read Your Bible!

So what about scripture reading. I try to read through the Bible every year.  Again, I didn’t always do this.  It’s developed over time.


A friend of mine asked “How do bankers know if money is fake”  Do they study all the ways someone might make the a fake copy of a bill like the texture of the paper or looking at the pyramid, does it have 2 eyes or one, the font of the words on the bill, and so on.

He said bankers get to know the fake by studying the real.  They study every quarter square inch so they know the real money so well that when they are handed a fake, they know it.

The same is true with God’s word.  We need to study God’s Word so when the culture presents the fake, we know it.   

I use a Bible App called Bible Gateway.  I start in Genesis 1 on January 1 and end with Revelation 22 on December 31st.  When I finish a year and begin a new year, I start all over again in Genesis 1.

Reading the Bible in a year takes me about 10 Minutes a Day.  For you math magicians out there, if you multiply 10 minutes a day by 360 Days per Year, what do you get? Right, 3600 minutes of Bible reading in a year.

So how many hours is this?  Take 3600 Minutes of Bible reading in a year and divide by 60 Minutes in an Hour.  How many hours of Bible reading is that in a year?  Right, about 60 Hours of Bible Reading per Year.  I’m not telling you this to brag but hopefully to encourage and inspired someone to maybe read their Bible more.

Another thing you can do is read a Daily Devotion.  You can buy devotionals at most book stores or go online and have them emailed to you.  They will have a verse each day with some explanation of that verse. You can get Devotionals for Men, Marriages, Parents, and so on.

I do a short and sweet devotional sent to my email by Family Life everyday.  It’s called “I Do Every Day” to keep me focused on my marriage and family.  It takes me only a couple of minutes to read through.

Another thing you can do is to read a ‘Proverb of the Day’.  Proverbs was written by the wisest man who ever lived and who was that?  Right, King David’s son, King Solomon.

There are usually how many days in a month? Right, 31.  Proverbs has 31 chapters in it too.  So since it’s March 4th, you’d read Proverbs 4.  Tomorrow, you’d read Proverbs 5 since it’ll be 5th of March and so on. Got it?

You can also read through Gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  Or you can read specific books in the Bible.  I like James. James is filled with practical wisdom for Christians, calling us to live out genuine faith through good works.

I also love Ephesians.  Ephesians teaches you about your identity in Christ and gives you the tools you need to live in light of who Christ called you to be.  It also teaches you about parenting and marriage in Ephesians 5 as well as putting on the full armor of God in Ephesians 6.

Our Biggest Obstacle?

Those are some ideas for prayer and bible reading. I hope and pray they encouraged you to maybe start if you haven’t. Guess what the most common obstacle is?  TIME!   Carving out time to do it.

I finish my mornings by reciting "The Fellowship of the Unashamed”.  It’s powerful. Here it is below.

“I am part of "The Fellowship of the Unashamed.’ The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I won't let up, look back, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed, my presence makes sense, and my future is secure.  I'm finished and done with low living, sight-walking, small plans, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame visions, mundane talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need plaudits, popularity, position, preeminence, or promotions.  I don’t have to be first, right, tops, praised, recognized, regarded or rewarded.

I now live by faith, lean on His presence, love with patience, live by prayer and labor with power.

My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide is reliable and my mission clear.

I can’t be bought, compromised, delayed, deluded, detoured, lured away, or turned back.

I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, meander in the maze of mediocrity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, or ponder at the pool of popularity.

I won't back up, give up, let up, or shut up until I'm preached up, prayed up, paid up, stayed up, and stored up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until He returns, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My banner will be clear. I am part of the ‘Fellowship of the Unashamed.’”

Remember, spiritual disciplines or habits won’t happen overnight overnight. It takes time and perseverance.  Habits are formed through daily repeated actions.  Listen men, we are all like the roads in Michigan, we are constantly “Under Construction”.

May God bless you as you train to become more like Daniel.

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