Discipline is often frowned upon as a negative concept.
It often conjures images of punishment or oppressive patterns of rigid routines and daily deprivations that lead to a life of misery.
However, we need to look at discipline as a friend, not a foe. How does anyone reach their goals? – Through discipline. An athlete trains rigorously to reach their physical and competitive goals. A surgeon studies and practices for years before obtaining the necessary skills for their specified work.
Through discipline comes reward. For example, physical discipline through exercise and a balanced diet will bring us a fit body, increased energy levels, resistance to sickness, higher concentration levels and an improved self image.
No Room For Complacency
As Christians, we all have the goal to live for God. We have all been called to become more like Jesus, to witness of His love to the world, to build relationships with Him and others, to serve Him joyously in the church and community, to enjoy the fruits of our labour, along with the gifts and blessings God has for us each day! However, if we don’t lead a disciplined life we will not attain what God has for us. If we are serious about our relationship with God, we dare not approach His purposes for us with a complacent attitude. This will only lead us down a path of mediocrity, shame and regret!
Jesus is our example. Each day He made time to commune with his Father no matter how busy He was. He developed deep relationships with His disciples. He served those around Him and witnessed God’s love to the world. He even made time for enjoying parties and feasts! Jesus led a balanced life. He knew clearly the goals He had and He structured His life to accommodate them.
Living a Balanced Life Helps us Reach God’s Goals for Us
We too need to be focused on the goals God has for us and structure our lives to feed them. We need to discipline ourselves to spend time with God each day in prayer and bible study, leading us to a closer relationship with Him and a growing character. We need to make time to develop relationships with others so that we can enjoy deeper and more satisfying friendships. We need to work as if we are working for God and not man, so that we honour Him in our workplace and develop the reputation as a diligent and trusted worker. We need to dedicate ourselves to serving our church with the specific and special job/s that God has for us, so that those around us are built up in their faith. And of course we must enjoy the gifts and pleasures God has given us. To persevere toward the goals Jesus has called us, we must lead a committed, balanced life. God’s path for us is not easy, but like the athlete who wins gold at the Olympics, or the surgeon who performs life-saving operations each day, we will be rewarded for our efforts if we persevere.
What do we need to do, or give up, to lead a more balanced life? Into what areas of our life do we need to invest more more discipline – daily time with God, developing kingdom changing relationships, leading a more physically healthy lifestyle, or just kicking back? God has called us to be wise and diligent. We are to lead a structured, disciplined life, yet allow room for spontaneity and fun!
God loves us and wants us to experience all the spiritual riches and pleasures He created us for… so let’s do what we can to experience it!
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.