For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light,
and the corrections of discipline are the way to life”
I was reflecting on my life yesterday and I started asking myself ‘Have I been disciplined before the lord?’. That got me thinking about how I have been living my life and handling the responsibilities around me. I was so ashamed when I found that I couldn’t remember the last time I made my bed after waking up or the last time I made a meal for myself.There are so many times I have not prayed before eating and so many other times I have failed to wash my hands after going for a short call. In short I have been ignorant about these things, or simply put I have been INDISCIPLINED!
Now,discipline is a dirty word in today’s shallow, selfish society. Nevertheless, for a Christian, discipline is an inseparable aspect of who we are. In fact, the entire word “Christian” is simply another word for “disciple” (Acts 11:26), and disciple is simply a branch form of the root word “discipline”. So discipline and being a disciple (or Christian) go hand in hand. To be a Christian, you must be disciplined. But the question is how, and in what ways? There are tons of different disciplines practiced throughout the world, throughout history, reflecting the values of the various religions, races, and cultures that have made up society. Many of these disciplines are good, but they are not all equal in value and importance. Allow me to highlight some areas in which I think we must pursue discipline in order to better our relationship with God.
For Christians, even though there is more to life than “spirituality”, there isn’t much more! Without the proper relationship with God, everything else that we have or do is essentially meaningless in the end. So in prioritizing how to discipline our lives to make us more effective for God, we have to start with the spiritual stuff.
Matthew Chapter 6, Jesus cites three different things that we can do to deepen our relationship with God. These three things are praying (speaking/seeking to listen to God alone), fasting (missing meals), and giving to the poor (or acts of charity .Christians need to discipline ourselves to CONTINUALLY do these things, if we are to stay in touch with God. If we slack off in any one of these areas our spiritual livelihood will suffer as a result. The choice, initiative, and wherewithal lies entirely with us, and is the truest testament of our personal faith and sincerity (or lack thereof). Critically examining our progress in this secret area of personal discipline will help to ensure that we maintain that vital link with God, which only God and we can ever truly have the full story on.Other additional disciplines that can greatly strengthen our spiritual walk include reading the Bible, or other inspirational writings, and even things like confessing things that we have done wrong recently to other people. If we are faithful about keeping up with any and all of these little spiritual disciplines, then we can be confident that the resulting fruit in our lives will be positive, equipping us to “fight the good fight of faith”, for Jesus. (1 Timothy 6:12) A few good questions to ask ourselves from time to time include ones such as: How many meals have I missed in the past week? How much time did I spend in private prayer with God? How much money, or in what way, did I give to help the poor? Obviously, these are just guideline questions; but the important thing is to try to keep account (which is the root word for “accountability”, I might add). This is the first step to true spiritual growth.
NB//This Series continues tomorrow.