Discipline is a Four Letter Word

Psalm 100:5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

My husband, Scott, is the most disciplined person I know. He daily plans his meals around the exact number of portions he wants to consume and then executes his caloric plan. He conducts every area of his life in a similar fashion. He doesn't overspend. He rarely misses a strategic goal at work. It is the exception that he ever arrives late.

Unfortunately for him, he married a more ordinary member of the population for whom discipline is more like a four letter word. It is not the first day of a diet, financial plan or project that gets me. It is the second and subsequent days where I find it difficult to stay on target with my stated objectives. Both my mind and heart begin to stray as I splurge in an occasional unplanned meal, purchase or activity usually with increasing frequency as time goes on.

This morning my reading is Colossians 2. Paul laid the foundation of our faith in Christ alone in the first chapter and now begins to build on that firm foundation. The building blocks Paul prescribes surprise me - organization and perseverance. Apparently it's more than just my diet plan that requires action on day 2.

1) Organization (Verse 5) - "I delight to see how orderly you are." If I didn't know better, I'd think that Scott put Paul up to writing this. Order is just simply not something that the average person takes delight in. Yet the God of order (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40) delights in just such a thing. Long before Scott was keeping his desk spotless, God knew that organization enhances every area of my life. Order lends itself to greater satisfaction, peace and results.
2) Perseverance (Verse 6) - "Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him." The day anyone surrenders their life to Christ is a day of great celebration. In fact, the angels in heaven throw a great party over every soul who chooses Jesus (Luke 15:7). Eventually the party balloons lose their air and the leftover cake pieces lose their allure and we have to learn to just live a daily life in a God-honoring way. Paul provides three essentials to continuing in the faith beyond day one. (Verse 7)
  • Roots - "Rooted and build up in him." We have to grow deep roots. I've never seen a tree grow its' roots but I've seen the impact. As the unseen roots grow deeper and larger, the observable part of the tree increases in proportion. Roots are grown one day at a time through the daily intake of water and nutrition. I too have to take in daily nutrition by feeding on God's Word and drinking in His Holy Spirit.
  • Strengthening - "Strengthened in the faith." I read recently that the best way to combat osteoporosis is to modify your diet by taking in the proper bone-healthy nutrients and then supplementing that with strength-enhancing workouts. Our Christian faith is the same. Daily nutrition is essential but is best absorbed by the body of Christ strengthening each other. In other words, I can not live the Christian life in isolation. The reason certain diet programs work is because they provide built-in accountability. The church as God intended it does that as well. We build each other up in the faith as we share our trials and triumphs with one another. Just as many diet regiments fail once the accountability wanes, so my faith flounders when I attempt to live my faith alone.
  • Overflowing - "Overflowing with thankfulness." Time with God is the foundation. Time with God's people is the accountability. Gratitude provides the power to carry us even on the most difficult days. When I feel like God has abandoned me. When I'm wounded by a friend at church. When things simply aren't going as I had anticipated. Being thankful recalibrates my heart towards God.

Jesus, today is certainly not the first day I've walked with You. This morning I awoke and felt You were so far away from me. You were not far. You were near waiting with great anticipation for me to meet with You and discover Your wonderful truth. Now that I have feasted on Your Word, I will find strength in Your people and power in a thankful heart. I once heard it said, "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels." Today I say, "Nothing feels as good as continuing to walk with You."

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