Published: 6 years ago

Discipline

I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions.

Oh, I used to be. I was going to eat better or exercise more or keep my side of the closet more organized or finally wrestle a moose to the ground using nothing but my bare hands and a copy of my ESV Study Bible. But like many people, I finally decided that making resolutions only led to disappointment when I later broke the resolutions (usually by 12:02 AM on January 1st).

What I’ve realized, however, is that I still lean towards resolutions. I’m just not as formal about them. That way, you can’t judge me for eating more and exercising less and not beating down Bullwinkle with my 46 pound copy of God’s word. I can do whatever I want to and feel pretty good about it, because my new standard hasn’t gone on record.

Here’s what I know about me: I actually crave discipline. I want to know the parameters, I want to have a goal, I want to be a better me in a new year than I was in the last. Not the better me that comes with a built in health-and-wealth-o-meter that guarantees I’ll be sporting an Escalade with shiny rims by the end of the year because Jesus expanded my tent stakes. No, it’s a better me that has grown because of the discipline I’ve hard-wired into my life.

It’s a discipline that first has to start with…um…a resolution to change.

Crud.

I guess I just broke my resolution not to make resolutions.

Some people hate the idea of spiritual discipline because it drums up thoughts of religious legalism. Here’s what Kent Hughes says about that:

…nothing could be further from the truth if you understand what discipline and legalism are. The difference is one of motivation: legalism is self-centered; discipline is God-centered. The legalistic heart says, “I will do this thing to gain merit with God.” The disciplined heart says, “I will do this thing because I love God and want to please Him.”

What does spiritual discipline mean to you? And what tools do you use to see that accomplished?

 

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2 Comments.
  1. Marc Dooner says:

    Great stuff Danny. I believe discipline is a scary word for many, including myself. It requires action, and we are all so “busy” as we like to claim.

    Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading your blogs and [time permitting of course, because I am so busy] would like to attend your discussion later this month if this is ok with you. Please let me know when and where.

  2. Victoria Nasworthy says:

    Discipline – the committment to do what is necessary daily, to plan and prepare and protect the efforts to increase an area that is lacking in some way. I’ve applied discipline to my health, finances, and academics. Yet, I often find myself floundering in those various efforts when I slip on my spiritual discipline.

    Daily I am up at 5am, reading Dr. Stanley or Oswald Chambers, or some other devotional from rbc.org. I journal when I have words. I list names or needs when I’m beyond words. However, those activities don’t come close to what simply reading God’s word and praying can do for my day. Sometimes its the Proverb of the day, or a series of Psalms. Currently I’m studying Job. God always leads my fingertips to the perfect scriptures. . .

    I pray before I read, while I read, and after I read. My Blackberry has YouVersion, but I’d much rather flip the pages of my little NIV I carry in my purse (and the pages and cover show it!). At the very beginning of this daily discipline journey, I confess I had no idea what I was doing, or how to apply what I was reading. But that’s the cool thing about God: where I reach the end of me, He comes in and takes me further.

    Spiritual discipline for me includes more than just my personal relationship and reaping the benefits in my own life. It means getting outside of myself, outside of the prayer list of my little world and deliberately asking for a heart more like Jesus daily and for His eyes to see opportunities to apply biblical truth in the lives of others. It means reading God’s word for more than just a Rx for my own trials and tribulations. It means to read to intentionally fill my heart with His truth and love like tools in a tool box so He can use me and my life to follow the Great Commission and positively impact the world for Christ. Spiritual discipline makes less of me and more of Him.

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