Discipline Paper – Christian Life

April 17, 2002

Discipline is something that I believe many people in today’s world lack. In generations past, more emphasis was put on being disciplined. Especially in my “X generation,” discipline is an afterthought. Not to say that there are not people my age that are highly disciplined, but I think there are fewer people that adhere to the kind of strict standards that used to be upheld in this country. Obviously the moral state of our nation has affected the very thought pattern of Americans today. Thus, we have a greater number of less committed and disciplined people expecting the same results that their parents may have achieved.

Personally, growing up in today’s culture, I have found myself only being disciplined in areas that I enjoy. I think that may run true with the many of the people my age, as well.

It is actually easy to be committed to something that you already have a desire to do. Everything else in life becomes the challenge, which can be seventy-five percent of the things we do. How easy is it to eat only food that is good for you? Or how many of us would like to be able to spend the majority of our time with family and friends instead of work? It is much easier to sit in front of the television than it is to run a mile. There is some amount of discipline needed for each of these examples. If we are willing to be disciplined, we will see the results. You will be healthy. You will be able to provide for your family. You will feel better.

For the last few years I have had the desire to be in better shape physically, but I told myself that I was not going to get there by jogging. I do not particularly enjoy that activity. Conversely, I never got in better shape. Basically, that is the best way to be in good cardiovascular shape, but I was not disciplined enough to commit to doing that.

So, I decided that jogging three times a week would be my discipline for this course. I needed to be in better shape, and that is the way to do it, if physically possible. At times, it was in question whether or not it was physically possible. I have persevered for the most part, though.

Running truly is a discipline in every since of the word. I felt as though I was punishing myself the first couple of weeks. It showed me that I really needed to be doing this. I was able to be fairly consistent with running three times a week. It was a good time for me to spend some one on one time with God, as well.

As I ran, I truly began to feel better, especially after the first couple of weeks. I had more energy, and it helped me in other areas of my life as well. As I became more discipline in that, other things became easier to be committed to, such as spending my time with the Lord every morning. That has become dramatically better since I began running.

Not only was my physical body getting in better shape, but through that discipline, spiritually I was growing, as well. I think as we can begin to be more disciplined in one area of our lives, then other areas become easier to deal with.

God really opened my eyes to the importance of being disciplined in every area of my life, not just things I enjoyed. Getting to that point, is not an easy row to hoe, so to speak, but it is necessary in order to become the kind of disciple that Jesus wants. The fact that the root of the word ‘discipline’ is ‘disciple’ should be a clue for all Christians. In order to be a true disciple one cannot skirt the need to be committed to the cause. I cannot half-heartedly follow Christ, and then call myself a disciple. Then I would be the only one saying that. Others will see if we are disciplined, and therefore the will see if we are worthy of being called disciples. I have seen the importance of that through this assignment.

We can and need to ask God’s help in being disciplined, but when all is said and done, it is up to us to take the first step and the next and the next. Sure God will help us, but He will not make us be disciplined. That will never make a disciple. Instead you would have a slave. We have to be a willing bond slave of Christ in order to be a disciple. When that happens, His yoke, which is light, will be upon us. Does it take discipline to carry the yoke of Christ? Of course. He does not go around throwing His yoke on anyone. Just to those that are willing to come to Him. And I believe that means more than just when we are saved. There needs to be a relationship. Real lasting relationships must have commitment. Through that commitment, we will find His yoke and His rest. (Matthew 11:29-30)

I can say I am more disciplined now than before this assignment. I can also say that I have much room for improvement. As we read in the Bible, Christ is coming for a church without spot or wrinkle. That will take some serious discipline on all of our parts. God sees our hearts. He knows whether we have the desire to be changed or not. And He will honor that. If we have that desire, then we must do something about it. Becoming more disciplined as not only as a person but a Christian is vitally important.

I will continue to run. Run for my health and run for Jesus Christ. Each will take my total commitment. Half-heartedness will not produce results for either one. I’m looking for results.

MSR

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