When you think of the word “discipline” what do you think of? For some it may be getting in trouble or something that happened to you when you were younger. But for me, when I hear the word “discipline” I think of having to do things that I don’t want to do. I don’t know about you but being disciplined to do things that are hard or I prefer not to do is not easy for me. One example of this is running. I can’t stand running; it’s like torture to me. But the thing about discipline is whether we enjoy it or not, it is a necessary part of our lives, not just our daily life but our spiritual life as well.
Spiritual disciplines are things we do that draw us closer to God, deepen our understanding of who he is, and help make us into the men and women he desires us to be. One thing I have discovered about spiritual disciplines is that as undisciplined as I can be in every day life, the same is true in my relationship with God. I have the same tendencies to be lazy and give up easily on God the same way I do with running or other things that don’t come easy to me.
There is one area specifically that God has begun to challenge me in over the last couple of months and that’s the discipline of memorizing scripture. And to be honest, memorizing scripture is one of those disciplines that I view a lot like running: complete torture. It has always been something I struggle with and so instead of fighting through it, I had just chosen not to do it at all. But through Gods word and Pastor Todd, God has begun to challenge me in my thinking and in my willingness to quit on something God commands us to do. So through much prayer and encouragement of others, I have decided to start memorizing the book of James. This is my favorite book of the Bible and I felt God telling me that it’s hard to claim it as my favorite book if I don’t know any verses from it. I am slowly memorizing this book and have done eight verses so far. And I am discovering that memorization is considered a discipline for a reason. It has not been easy and even a little painful at times but God is growing me and teaching me so much though this process.
To do anything of value in life, it takes hard work and discipline. Our relationship with God is no different. It takes us being willing to challenge ourselves and push ourselves to grow in our relationship with Him. One thing I have learned over the years is it’s not enough to just want to grow in my relationship with God; eventually it comes down to what am I willing to do for that to happen. Do not be fooled into believing that your desire is enough; it always comes down to your willingness to actually do something about it.
So let me ask you a few questions. What are doing in your life to grow closer to God? How hard are you working at your relationship with Him? What discipline or disciplines do you need to start implementing in your life?
Middle School Pastor, BCC