Have you ever started a workout plan? It is not a lot of fun, especially at the age of 45. Past my prime, past my subprime and probably past what should be my expiration date. It is hard work for small gains. Sometimes the only gain you get is not completely losing what you’ve got. Working out serves a purpose for me; even though in the light of eternity it probably is a pretty small thing. What it does do for me is provide a real concrete practice that shows me what it means to have discipline. “Being disciplined” is a short statement with a depth to it that few understand completely, especially me. One example that I rely on to understand discipline is the example of the disciples.
To be a disciple is the ultimate manifestation of discipline. What these men did took an unprecedented amount of discipline. Take a look at their story. They gave up their entire lives to follow Jesus and learn his teachings. They made choices that were not easy, rational, and definitely did not make sense to those on the outside looking in. They set Jesus and what He had for them as their one and only priority. Many people probably made the statement that they were so heavenly minded that they were no earthly good. That is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. I have said many times that my priorities are God, Family, and then work. I believe this with all my heart, but many times in my life these priorities have gotten mixed up. All be it with good intentions, I am not sure those intentions were always Godly intentions. Family is a priority for sure but only to the extent that it furthers and focuses God’s purpose. What you do is also a priority but only if your work supports your family’s and God’s purpose. Removing God’s purpose is how goodly and Godly intentions get mixed up. Having the integrity to be truthful with yourself about your priorities and then acting on those priorities is what discipline is all about.
Are you disciplined? Do you want to be a disciple? Before answering that for yourself think about what is being asked. It is not easy. It is not comfortable. You will be persecuted. Is this your purpose? Many will not be able to take up this cross. When the rich young ruler asked to be a disciple, he was told to sell what he had and follow Christ. When the rich man heard this, he turned away. He did not have the discipline to make Christ his priority (Matthew 19:16-30). I pray that anytime God asks me to give up everything to maintain the priority of His purpose, I would have the discipline to be able to say “Neither life nor death nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come will separate me from the love of Christ”. Romans 8:38-39. For me that would separate me from His purpose and leave no way to be a disciple. Go be a Disciplined Disciple!