With New Year’s resolutions in full swing, discipline often becomes the caveat to take those resolutions through the whole year. Discipline is an intentional commitment to yourself and your goal. It’s also a daily choice with lifelong rewards. Discipline is doing more than you think you can and more than you feel you can for the purpose of doing more than you dreamed possible. Scripture speaks to the qualities and practices of discipline and how they relate to the Christian life.
Discipline, whether for disobedience or to improve or practice something, is painful. But its rewards are sweet.
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. “ Hebrews 12:11
Discipline is a mark of the believer in Christ and a reflection of our Lord.
“Rather be hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.” Titus 1:8
Discipline requires work and diligence.
“Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.” Proverbs 20:13
Discipline is marked by self-control, which God identifies as a protection for us.
“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Proverbs 25:28
Discipline requires constant training. It is not achieved overnight.
“Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness.” 1 Timothy 4:7
Discipline sets us apart, makes our work excellent, allows us to operate confidently, and teaches us to rightly recognize and communicate truth.
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
A mark of discipline is self-control, given to us by God if we choose to utilize it.
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Discipline requires practice, similar to how an athlete or artist must practice their skill.
“What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9
Scripture gives us a blueprint on how to train and discipline our lives for godliness.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Discernment and spiritual growth is only attained by a commitment to training and discipline.
“But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:14
Training and discipline are healthy and obedient ways to raise our children.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Discipline requires endurance.
“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4
Discipline has a purpose. For the believer in Christ, our purpose is to run a race with our eyes fixed on heaven and to share about that eternal hope with everyone we come across.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
While discipline is a challenge, it is also a constant opportunity to become more and more like Christ. In our fallen state, God knew discipline and training would be difficult, but He continued to call us to training, self-control, growth, practice, and a focus on excellence. He didn’t leave us to flounder and figure it out. He gave us blueprint on how to practice discipline through His Word and His people.
We are resolved to discipline ourselves for godliness this year. How will you practice discipline in 2018?