I’ve been listening to the podcast for Crossroads while cleaning my room and exercising these days, and how fitting that the message for today was on discipline. It sparked some thoughts, many of which are not new, but something that I clearly need to understand better since I haven’t yet incorporated them permanently into my life:
Discipline is won a little at a time. Sometimes we set goals too high for us, or look to the very end instead of taking it a step at a time. This could pertain to workouts, or perhaps assignment, or even relationships. Sometimes we’re so excited to start something, but then our enthusiasm peters out over time as it appears that we aren’t making much headway or gaining ground. Perhaps more motivating, then, is its converse…
Discipline is lost a little at a time. Oh how this resonates with me! It has been months since I’ve regularly exercised, and it is so difficult to start again. I think I remember when I stopped, and it wasn’t all at once. It just became less and less frequent until finally it ended, and as one of those rules in physics goes, it is hard to start moving once completely stopped. Bodies at rest tend to stay at rest? With discipline, sometimes we don’t press on to get ahead, but also so that we don’t fall behind.
Discipline is difficult. When it comes to sports, there is no doubt that this is true. I remember in high school staying late in order to practice basketball and volleyball, and how not only did I need to be physically fit, but our team needed to function together as well. We didn’t just sweat a little, but we toiled and pushed ourselves until we were exhausted. Why isn’t our spiritual discipline like this? Do we not take it seriously enough, or fail to consider the purpose and benefit of it all?
Discipline gets easier. Maybe you don’t want to do your homework. If we only do whatever we feel like doing, we certainly will never touch certain things. I bet I still wouldn’t be eating vegetables, playing or enjoying musical instruments, or reading at all. Well, maybe I would be reading. The point is, sometimes we develop a taste for things after we discipline ourselves to do it, and other times we don’t come to enjoy it anymore, but we appreciate the end for which we do it and it gets easier.
We need to be disciplined. I don’t think I’ve ever completely kept a New Years resolution. I wonder if I know anybody who has. I think we can all relate to the desire of wanting to wake up early and do our devotions, or wanting to start sleeping on time, or perhaps snacking less, spending less money, and on and on. We can’t be counted on to complete or succeed at these things, but we sure can be counted on to fail. It is almost a given that we will at some point be inconsistent. I forgot where exactly all of this is heading, except that the only One I know of that models discipline and whom we can count on in Christ, and that is where our discipline must begin.
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