Discipline is one of those things that’s hard to find. It’s like that famous ancient parable, “There once was a fox and a chicken. They were both so lazy… that they died.”
Let’s not fool ourselves, there’s no easy solution to get discipline. But for someone who really is trying to seek it, there is a place to start. When we talk about discipline we have to understand that there’s so many different areas in life where we need it. You could be really disciplined your job, but never exercise. You could be great with homework, but never get around to doing devotions. You could be very diligent with your finances, but you eat like a pack of hyenas.
Why is it easier to be disciplined at something like our job, but harder to be disciplined with things like exercise and devotions? At job you have a boss you answer to. If you don’t do your job, you not only will your performance suck, but you also will have someone chewing you out.
It’s not the same with all of life. If you don’t do your devotions, you still have poor results in life, but no one is there to chew you out. You are your own boss.
The problem doesn’t stop there because we are the owner/boss of a bunch of different businesses. Spiritual life, family, job, house, ministries, finances. You can’t just completely focus on one without taking time from another. Which means part of discipline is prioritizing.
Now how do you prioritize what to attack? When you are fighting off vampires, do you fight them one by one? Fighting the one closest to you, and after you defeat that one you move on to the next one closest to you? No, of course not… You focus all your energy on the head vampire. For once it is defeated, all the other vampires lose their power and you win.
In the same way, there is one area to focus on that will in turn affect all the other areas of life – your love for God. Your love for God affects all other aspects of your life because really being disciplined means you’re doing what God wants you to be doing when he wants you to do it.
However he is not like a physical boss that chews you out when you’re late on stuff. But that’s actually not what we need because…
We shouldn’t do things because we’re afraid of God, we should do things because we love him.
And that’s where discipline should start – our love for God. That’s they key. That’s where we start. The more you love God, the more you will want to please Him. The more love you have for God, the harder it will be to be disobey Him by being a poor steward with His money, by treating your body poorly, by neglecting your kids, by being a mediocre spouse or by eating like a wood chipper.
So what do we do?
To grow in our love for God we can start off with two little things : daily devotions, and something with our daily prayer. To get more out of our daily devotions, to try to understand God more, as you are reading ask yourself, “Why did God bother to put this passage in the Bible?” Which leads to “What does this say about him, and what does it say about us?” This helps you read more intentionally, more critically. What is so important about this passage that God didn’t want to leave it out?
Then in your daily prayer, make sure to take what you know about God through scripture and express it through two things: Praise and Thanks. Praise is loving God for who he is (his attributes), and Thanks is loving God for what he has done. As you do your praise and thanks, try to tie it in with those aspects of you’re life you’re trying to grow discipline in. For example, “God, thanks for blessing me with wages from my job, please help me administer your money wisely and not waste it.” “God thanks that I’m not so slammed for time, please help me to use that time to exercise.” That way we our love for God will be the basis for making changes.
Discipline is never easy. If it was, it wouldn’t be discipline. But it’ll be just a bit easier if we know where to start.
John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. 24 “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.
Today’s Fruit of the Spirit: Self-Control Take Time to Pray: Ask God for help to prioritize your life, for help to place a priority on your love for him.