Disicipline. Its not a very exciting word and it usually conjures up several unpleasant images. For some discipline is what happened to them when they rebelled against their parents. For others discipline reminds them of them of their stodgy 8th grade geography teacher that always rebuked them for not having the discipline to “stay on task.”
However, discipline is a positive word and a necessary virtrue for the Christian life. Sanctification (which means growing in holiness) is work, hard work that is response to and flows from the grace of God given to us in Jesus Christ. In fact, Paul captures this beautiful picture in 1 Corinthians 15:10, “I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” In other words we grow in holiness as God works grace in us and we work out that grace in obedience.
All this means that sanctification does not “just happen.” We do not become a mature Christian just by growing old as a Christian. We have to work at it. We have to strive for it. We have to daily put ourselves in the places where God has promised to meet us with grace.
This is why discipline is so important in the Christian life. We need to use the means of grace God has given us to grow in holiness. More than that, we need to be disciplined in using those means of grace. This why Paul commands us “discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness” (1 Tim. 4:16). Christians must daily engage in God’s gift of spiritual disciplines if we are going to walk faithfully after Christ. What are these spiritual disciplines?
- Bible Reading
- Bible Meditaiton
- Bible Memory
- The Lord’s Supper
- Sitting under the preaching of the word
- Fellowship with other believers
There are many others,as well. I want to encourage you to be disciplined in your pursuit of godliness and in your walk with Christ.