“Maturing followers of Jesus create habits of spiritual disciplines.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 9, 2021
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. I Corinthians 9:25
What comes to mind when you think of the word discipline? Sacrifice, hard work, no grace, no fun and white-knuckled determination? The Merriam-Webster definition is punishment, instruction, training that corrects, molds or perfects the mental facilities or moral behavior. These ideas and definitions do not necessarily inspire me toward being a devoted Jesus disciple.
What if we thought of discipline more in terms of managing our routines? Good routines. Recently I changed my morning shaving sequence. For 37 years I first shaved my stubble and then showered; my logic was to shave first and then shower so I could wash off the shaving cream. Makes sense, right? However, over the years I have experienced nicks and cuts that I just chalked up as part of the grooming experience. But how weird to stick a moistened piece of tissue on a red splotched chin and look like I had been in a 15 round boxing match and lost!
One day I was complaining about more frequent violent encounters with my razor and Rita recommended I shower first then shave. “Hot water moistens your face and causes your stubble to stand more erect”, she explained. You may ask, how do you change a 37-year-old habit? In my case, it was about exchanging a small block of time for a lesser pain. And would you believe for the next 90 days no cuts, a closer, cleaner shave, and no needless facial embarrassment! Now I am wondering, “Boyd, what other routines need to be adjusted to experience a much better outcome?”
Discipline is a prerequisite for a disciple of Jesus Christ. A wise disciplined person knows how to stay focused on what’s most important, and trusts other urgent matters will take care of themselves in the right time. Paul uses the illustration of athletic training to motivate us to discipline. A compelling motivation for the athlete is the reward at the end. The reward at the finish line makes worthwhile the sometimes painful workout process and regimented routine. This is why we memorize scripture now, for wisdom later. We exercise now, for energy later. We rise early now in prayer, for peace later. We give generously now, for rewards later. Discipline in the now creates benefits for the future. Perhaps you manage a new routine that draws you closer to Christ.
“Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined” (Titus 1:7-8).
Discipline becomes a habit of life when there are clearly defined goals and steps to achieve them. Discipline provides laser focus through structure and accountability. However, it is not all altruistic, there is progress and fruit along the way to enjoy. You feed discipline when you are able to enjoy its fruit with like-minded friends.
Disciplined people make discipline infectious. Surround yourself with people of discipline and you will become better disciplined. A parent, friend, mentor, teacher and other role models can coach and encourage you through a disciplined process. Disciples are disciplined and people who are disciplined can be effective disciples of Jesus Christ.
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).
Heavenly Father, I pray for a devoted heart for You that expresses itself as a disciplined disciple of Jesus, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.
What areas of my life can I apply discipline to better reflect being a disciple of Christ?
Kim Walker-Smith – I Say Yes
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