What Is Discipline, And Do You Have It?

I love being busy.  I mean, I don’t love it, but I sure act like I do.  I bet you do too.  We fill our days with frenetic activity, and over-commit our weeks in an effort to be productive – err – important.

We understand what it means to live beyond our means, in every sense of the word.  So often we end up in that place where we are just spent, but don’t know how to stop.

I found myself there recently.  I had committed to serving in multiple leadership positions, was down some key staff positions in the ministry, was in the middle of a Global Leadership program, and had a full house of 5 kids under the age of 5 at home.  Spent.  Yes, that’s what I felt like.

In reading an article on how God works in His people in a slow, methodical way, a quote by author, Henri Nouwen, hit home with me.  He describes discipline this way:

The word discipleship and the word discipline are the same word—that has always fascinated me. Once you have made the choice to say, “Yes, I want to follow Jesus,” the question is, “What disciplines will help me remain faithful to that choice?” If we want to be disciples of Jesus, we have to live a disciplined life.

 

By discipline, I do not mean control. If I know the disciplines of psychology or of economics, I have a certain control over a body of knowledge. If I discipline my children, I want to have a little control over them.

 

But in the spiritual life, the word discipline means “the effort to create some space in which God can act.” Discipline means to prevent everything in your life from being filled up. Discipline means that somewhere you’re not occupied, and certainly not preoccupied. In the spiritual life, discipline means to create that space in which something can happen that you hadn’t planned on or counted on.”

So today that’s what I did.  I sat still, for hours.  I sat with my Bible, and a pen.  Slowly and intentionally, I read through the book of Amos.  I prayed.  I read.  I was silent, and listened.

And what happened?  Nothing.  That is, nothing that was apparent to me.  I trust that God is doing something in me on His time table, not mine.  For now, I’ll continue to wait.

Discipline.  ”Creat[ing] a space in which something can happen that you hadn’t planned on or counted on.”  Interesting.

Why aren’t we more disciplined people?

 

Comments

  1. Bobby September 30, 2011 at 4:49 am #

    It is all about me, yuk

    Availability – Making my own schedule and priorities secondary to the wishes of those I am serving. (the opposite is self-centeredness)

    Philippians 2:20-21 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek there own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.

    • Kevin East October 3, 2011 at 2:11 am #

      Yep, good point, Bobby.

      Making myself available to God and His agenda is something I have to be deliberate at doing.

  2. Wiliamson November 18, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    received a good insight from here.