I love to go out to eat. One of the highlights of any vacation for me, is the opportunity to check out restaurants that are local favorites. Dinners include an entree, and more often than not, a dessert. I'm on vacation after all, right?! It's only after I get home and approach the bathroom scale that I break out in a sweat. Maybe I shouldn't have sampled that last dish of creamy gelato...
The motivation to work out kicks in, as I'm forced to slide the counterweights on my scale farther to the right. I'm willing to become more selective in my food choices. I wave goodbye to the sugary confections I've become fast friends with, and say hello to sugar-free replacements. I step up to the plate of discipline.
The dictionary defines 'discipline' as, "controlled behavior resulting from disciplinary training; a systematic method to obtain obedience." The key is controlled behavior. There's nothing wrong with an occasional dessert. When I have to have a sweet something with every meal though, I've shifted from being in control, to being out of control.
Just like discipline is necessary in order for me to maintain the proper weight, it's vitally important in other areas of my life as well. I am able to make wise decisions when I'm disciplined with my finances. My time is best utilized when I practice discipline. My speech can be controlled and edifying when discipline is in place. Get the picture? This little ten-letter word can have an immense impact on my life if I apply it!
Being disciplined in any area is a choice. It's willfully submitting to whatever it takes to get that area under control. Seeking God's wisdom about the particular area is essential. He welcomes our request for His wisdom, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" (James 1:5; KJV; emphasis mine).
Wisdom and disciple don't come overnight. When we understand what our Heavenly Father has to say about discipline for a certain area, we have the opportunity to put it into practice - one day at a time. This life-long process compels us to spend time at the Master's feet, daily. Speaking of wisdom, the writer of Proverbs encourages, "Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord" (Proverbs 8:34-35; emphasis mine).
As the dictionary definition implies, discipline doesn't come without a price. Denying myself can be downright frustrating. Society's focus on instant gratification has gone a long way in convincing us that we have the right to what we want, immediately. Why wait and save up the money to buy that item, when we can have it now and charge it to our credit card. Never mind that our impatience will end up costing us more in the long run. When we submit ourselves to be exercised by discipline, controlled behavior is the outcome. We see the wisdom in only purchasing the things we can afford.
As you pursue wisdom to become more disciplined in any area of life, remember the words of James, "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be enreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy" (James 3:17).
Life is full of opportunities for discipline. Are you willing to do what it takes to become disciplined in your living? Although the initial cost may seem high, and the road may seem long, the rewards make it all worthwhile!
Thank You, Lord, that Your Word gives me the tools necessary to live a disciplined life. Help me to glean wisdom from You, daily. Your Word is clear that those who handle matters wisely shall find good, and those who trust in You are happy (Pro. 16:20). I praise You today, Lord! In Jesus' name, Amen.