Discipline is my word for 2014. It’s not very exciting. I would rather have preferred “dream” or “dance.” Then I realized that it is through “discipline” that we can make our dreams happen. When dreams become a reality then we can dance. The Apostle Paul writes:
“…but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others,
I myself will not be disqualified.” -1 Cor. 9:27 (NASB)
Paul was no stranger to discipline. Before his conversion to Christianity he describes himself as:
“…a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church;
as to the righteousness which is the Law, found blameless.” -Philippians 3:5-6 (NASB)
Following the law took much discipline. After his conversion, Paul’s goal of discipline changed from law-follower to Gospel-proclaimer. Even though 1 Corinthians 9: 23-27 is in the context of preaching the Gospel, we can learn a few things from Paul concerning discipline and apply it to our lives.
1) Run in such a way that you may win.
Paul speaks about a race and competing in games. This is something the Corinthians would understand as the Isthmian Games, similar to the Olympic Games, were held every two years in Corinth. Now, I am not a runner but I know it requires discipline. Runners must practice pace-setting and endurance. They must stand poised and ready until the start sounds. Then they must stay in their lane.
Want to read your bible in a year? Get a plan and follow it.
Want to eat healthier meals? Gather a recipe list and workout a menu.
Are you writing a book? Set a goal of so many words per day.
2) Exercise self-control.
Discipline many times requires saying “no” to people and things that would get us off course and saying “yes” to that which helps us in meeting our goals.
Grab your morning coffee and head straight to your Bible to read without checking emails and social media.
Stick to your healthy grocery list. Flee from the bakery aisle!
Pick up a pen or grab your laptop and write instead of browsing through that magazine.
3) Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim.
For the average reader, it takes 15 minutes a day of Bible reading to have read through the Bible in a year. Schedule the time, set your timer, and read.
We must discipline ourselves to write our menus and stick to the grocery list we have made.
Writers must formulate a plan of words they want to write and chapters to be completed by a certain date.
As we work to discipline our bodies let us not forget these words of Paul:
“…discipline yourself for the purpose of the godliness;
for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things,
since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” -1 Timothy 4:7-8 (NASB)
Godly discipline produces eternal results.
What is our aim?
Put God first, do all to His glory and write, dream or dance for His name sake.
“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
-1 Corinthians 10:31 (NASB)
Have you learned something from your word that you didn’t expect?