Many of us hear about “discipline,” but not all of us are a huge fan of it. Where does discipline come in handy in life? Discipline is effective in many ways: waking up at a specific time, working, meeting deadlines, turning in homework on time, working out, eating healthy, learning to say “no” to what is not a priority and “yes” to what God has for your life. Discipline requires self-control and is a good habit to form in your life.
The word discipline means “…orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior; self-control.” God is a God of order and self-control is actually a fruit or the evidence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The word disciple, I believe, is similar in that we follow a set of morals and abide by God’s Word—avoiding consequences—and by embracing true freedom, which is freedom from the bondage of sin (bad choices) and addictive behaviors. Disciple, by one definition, is “…a personal follower of Jesus during his life, especially one of the twelve Apostles.” It also can mean “…a follower or student of a teacher, leader or philosopher.”
Of course, discipline isn’t fun all the time and doesn’t feel good in the moment, but is beneficial for our lives. If we lack discipline, we become sloppy and unaccountable. If we neglect managing our money, time or diet; if we don’t have a pastor or covering; if we don’t have a schedule—then our health or spiritual health can be affected and even our well-being. Relationships can be negatively affected if order is not established or honored. Discipline and accountability go hand in hand and reminds me of discipleship.
How close we walk to Christ and honor Him depends on if we’re reading His Word, are faithful in hearing His voice and being in His Presence, and choosing to be close to the body of Christ. If you resist accountability, you are lacking discipline and you become like a wild vine off on your own doing your own thing, which can become destructive.
I had planted you like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock. How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine? (Jeremiah 2:21)
Remain united to me, and I will remain united to you. A branch cannot bear fruit by itself; it can do so only if it remains in the vine. In the same way you cannot bear fruit unless you remain in me. (John 15:4)
Of course we all have freedom, the free will to choose and so forth, but setting healthy boundaries in relationships and disciplining yourself to make time for what matters most show your character and what is important to you. Executing discipline shows your loyalty and that you are willing to submit, to grow and to show up. When you work out or want to lose weight, for example, discipline benefits you and you get positive results.
In what area of life do you need to exercise discipline? Pray about it. Ask God to help you and to shine a light on some weaker areas. Listen, we all need to grow in some capacity and there is grace for that, but we need to examine ourselves and see where we can progress. Amen?