If I’m being honest, I’m not a huge fan of that word, probably because I’m not very good at it. Discipline takes a lot of self-control, hard work and sacrifice – none of which come very easy to me.
So when my life group kicked off the New Year with a study on spiritual disciplines, I thought I was in trouble. I can hardly discipline myself to turn off the TV when I need to, how in the world was I going to practice spiritual disciplines?!
However, as we got into the study and practiced a variety of spiritual disciplines, my perspective changed. I was able to see that the spiritual disciplines didn’t exist to make my life harder or more challenging, but on the contrary, they began to enhance my day-to-day life.
This change in perspective didn’t happen overnight though. One of the hardest spiritual disciplines we practiced as a life group was unplugging – unplugging from the busyness, distractions and being constantly “connected.” My husband and I decided to disconnect from TV for a week and I’m ashamed to admit how hard that was for me!
Scripture tells us that discipline will be hard! Check out the first part of Hebrews 12:11.
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.”
Did you hear that? Painful. Eek! While there are way more painful things than abstaining from watching TV, it was challenging to resist my natural urge to just flip on the TV to have some background noise or when I wanted a quick mental break.
But as the week went on, I noticed some small changes – my husband and I talked more, I was more productive around the house, finding time to sit down and study my Bible suddenly came much easier. Then, what was really amazing was that the next week, I wanted to continue this discipline of unplugging because I liked the result. It’s no accident that I felt this way. Look at what the second half of Hebrews 12:11 promises as a result of discipline:
“Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Discipline takes training and practice, but scripture promises there will be a harvest. How wonderful is that?! Let me leave you with one final word of encouragement, as it is something that I cling to when I think about continually trying to be disciplined.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” –Galatians 6:9