We often think of discipline as the consequence of wrongdoing. That’s painful, too. Yet it’s meant to draw us back onto the right path, into right behavior.
Another form of discipline is that which teaches and trains us for the path. Training that keeps us on the path, growing in strength and confidence.
I believe God uses both of these to bring us to that place of right standing with Him. While we are given Christ’s righteousness upon salvation, our behavior sometimes prevents us from entering the presence of God. If we have disciplined ourselves and trained for a walk as a fully devoted follower of Jesus, we will more easily evade the behaviors and actions that keep us from Him.
What is this training and how long does it take?
All training requires the right resources. For runners, it’s shoes and some knowledge of the terrain. For boxers, it’s shoes, gloves, and knowledge of your opponent. For baseball players, it’s shoes, bat and glove, and trust in your team. For football, it’s shoes, pads and helmet, trust in your team, and the ability to read your opponent. The training continues as long as the athlete wants to stay prepared.
For believers, it’s a foundation (shoes) that is built on the scripture. It’s learning what the Book says about the world in which we live (terrain). It’s using the spiritual armor to help us as we battle our opponent (gloves [2 kinds], bat, pads, helmet). It’s the fellowship of believers that encourages us, gives us help, comfort, and strength (team). The training continues as long as the believer wants to be prepared.
This discipline isn’t easy. Sometimes it hurts. Our muscles – even spiritual ones – get tired and achy. We might feel like quitting. But if we keep the win in mind – that fellowship with the one True and Living God – we will lift our heads, and work harder than ever.
Are you feeling like you’re done with the disciplines to become a mature follower of Christ? Let me cheer you on. You’re on your way to a crown given by the Son of God! That’s way better than a medal on a ribbon or a trophy made of plastic or metal. Keep going, friend. Keep striving. Keep pushing. It really will be worth it!
Coffee, Bible, Journal.