Archive for February, 2013

detention1Most things in life don’t come easy, at least for most of us. Whether we’re trying to get ahead, get in shape, get good grades, or even sometimes just get by we have to work at it. At least I do. I’ve found that if I want to accomplish certain things I have to be disciplined. In other words, I have to set some strict rules and guidelines for myself.

I don’t know about you but the word “discipline” makes me think of negative things like getting grounded when I was a kid or getting detention at school. Is discipline really a bad thing though? I think it’s just the opposite. I think it’s a good thing. Don’t get me wrong, I never enjoyed getting grounded or being in detention but I now realize that it was ultimately for my good; it was for my training (so I would learn how to act right!).

Now, as I’m much older, I actually try to discipline myself. I don’t ground myself or send myself to detention but I do try to set regular rules, guidelines, and parameters or boundaries for myself. For instance, if my goal is to lose weight and get in shape I set certain guidelines concerning what I eat and I schedule time throughout my week for excercise. If My goal is to get ahead at work I set certain guidelines concerning my time. This may be a little different for me than for most people because as a pastor my time is fairly flexible. I have certain things that I need to accomplish every week but I also have to be available at almost any time. I have to set certain parameters. I need to be up by a certain time every day, not because I have to be at the office (though sometimes I do) but because I have to get some things done before the phone starts ringing (or buzzing). If my goal is to be a good husband and father I have to make it a point to set other things aside, however important they may be, and spend time with my family. It takes discipline. In my case, because my schedule is flexible and demanding all at the same time, it takes a lot of self-dicipline. I have to impose these rules and guidelines on myself if I want to actually accomplish these things.

It may be a little different for you in your situation. Certain disciplines may be imposed on you. When it comes to work you probably have a set time to be there and a set time to leave, but while you’re there you still have to discipline yourself to stay on track. Maybe even more so because your time is more limited. When it comes to school you have classwork and homework assignments handed out to you. My point is that discipline, whether it’s self-imposed or imposed by others, is a good thing because it’s how we are trained to be better and to do better.

The same is true when it comes to being a Christian as well. As a matter of fact, if you are a Christian then you have proclaimed yourself to be a follower, or a “disciple”, of Christ. In other words, you have given your life over to Him, to be trained by Him, to become like Him. Talk about being disiplined, read what Jesus said about about being His disciple in Mattew 16:24-25,

“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.’”

Jesus offered up His life for our sake and if we want to follow Him we have to offer up our lives for His sake. We have to be willing to commit ourselves to Him, submit to Him, and make sacrifices if we truly want to follow Him.

It takes discipline to be a disciple, and that’s a good thing.

imagesKeeping rules of religion do not make you a follower of Christ but neither does simply calling yourself a “Christian”. A Christian is one who not only believes that Jesus is God’s Son but trusts in His death and resurrection for the atonement of his or her sin and because of that faith willingly submits his or her life to Christ daily. The evidence of such a life will be apparent to others. How could it not be?

I discipline my self to read (and study) my Bible regularly, to pray regularly, to go to church regularly, to spend time with other Christians regularly, and to tell others about Jesus regularly. I have to make it a point to do these things but I’ve found that when I do, and the more I do, the more I want to because it’s through these disciplines that I become closer to Christ and more like Him. It’s through these disciplines that I truly become His disciple.