Imagine you won an incredible opportunity for you and a friend to play in an NBA game with your favorite team! You call your friend up and he’s thrilled! You go the day of the game and you can hardly contain the excitement. You’ve got on the uniform, the crowd is screaming, the lights of cameras are flashing, you feel like you could take on the world. Then the game starts.
The one aspect you overlooked on this once in a lifetime opportunity.
You are playing basketball with professionals.
Guys who have been working hard, training and practicing everyday for years and it turns out you’re not as good as you thought. If this was me it would be quite embarrassing, we would lose the game by a lot and it would be my fault. My friend is now ashamed to be seen with me.
We know we are called to go into all the world and make disciples (Matt 28:19), but the first step in making disciples is becoming a disciple ourselves. The key to becoming a disciple is found in a word that everyone loves, discipline. In fact, the root word of discipline is disciple. Too many Christians are attempting to follow Christ without the daily discipline of devotion.
As 1 Kings begins an aging David intends to make Solomon the next King, but another Son decides to make himself King behind his father’s back. Verse six says this:
1 Kings 1:6 (NLT) Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, “Why are you doing that?”
Wherever there is a lack of discipline, problems arise. In the context of parenting and leadership we know that there must be discipline, or else things can spiral out of control quickly and our children or employees won’t grow in the direction we want them to grow. More important than helping to discipline others is the art of self-discipline.
As a child we learn to associate discipline with punishment, and that is true to an extent. Self Discipline can feel like self punishment, but truthfully it isn’t punishment. It is simply choosing to do the things that will benefit us most, rather than the things we want to do most.
We have no problem waking up early to do something we want to do, go fishing, take a trip to Disney or some other special activity, but when it comes to spending time with Jesus, “I’m not a morning person.”
I get it, I get it, you’re really not a morning person. No problem, do you have a consistent time and place you meet with Jesus daily no matter what? If so then great, if not then I promise you are not growing spiritually to the level God desires for your life. At some point you will feel frustrated because you aren’t seeing the results you want to see. When we lack spiritual discipline, our struggle with sin is greater, we develop attitudes towards situation and people. We often have great desire, but are not seeing it fulfilled.
I hope you feel my heart today, I’m not saying any of this to make you feel bad, like you’re not a good Christian. I tell you this because for years I had horrible spiritual discipline. My devotions were erratic at best. I spent years stuck spiritually spinning my wheels, and it wasn’t some supernatural moment at a conference that transformed my life. It was when I finally decided that enough was enough and I needed to discipline myself.
When we don’t spend daily time with Jesus in prayer and study of His Word we are robbing ourselves of great joy, blessing and breakthrough. I’m not suggesting we should beat ourselves up in guilt and condemnation if we miss a day, no! Simply start anew the next day, God isn’t angry demanding you make up the time you missed. He just loves us.
1 Corinthians 9:27 (NLT) I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
Is it always a JOY making time for Jesus? No, The morning of this writing was actually one of the most challenging mornings for me to get out of bed. I felt full zombie when my alarm went off and I actually hit snooze which I rarely do, but when it went off the second time I knew that I need to do what’s right, not what I want.
It’s not about your comfort, it’s about your character. Growing in the Lord often means sacrificing something you would rather be doing to invest in what you need to be doing.
Today I want to encourage you, if you’re still reading this devotion then I know you have a heart to grow in the things of the Lord. Don’t give up. Don’t let the devil make you feel like a failure of a Christian because you’ve had a lack of discipline. Simply start new. Everyday is a new chance to spend time with Jesus and He is always eager to hear from you.