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Delighting in my God, I desire to dwell in His pleasure and to help others experience true delight.

"Delight Yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your judgment as the noonday.  
Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;..." Ps 37:4-7a

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A to Z Challenge: F is for the Freedom of Discipline




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To some freedom and discipline will seem like a mismatch, but I hope you will think again.  Any musician, athlete, performer knows the freedom that comes with the discipline of their craft.  The reason they have the freedom to be excellent in their ability, to do what they are able to do with joy, is because they have taken the time to employ discipline in their learning.  If they had not done so, they would be free to play well.

Discipline is training, practice, immersion in the facets of and obedience to the rules of a system of learning of an activity or of life in general.  Without it, we never develop depth or expertise in a particular area of interest.  We will always be limited and lack the freedom that comes with  knowing something fully.

  • Discipline as a life skill helps us develop healthy habits and resist those which lead to addictions.  Again the avenue to freedom is discipline.
  • Any employer will tell you how liberating it is for them to have an employee they can count on to arrive on time, get the job done as expected, trust to finish what he has set out to accomplish.  These are all marks of discipline.  
  • A child who has been disciplined, has manners, can interact more freely and comfortably with those of all ages.

The Christian life is no different.  However, many of us who call ourselves Christian have become lazy in the spiritual disciplines of the faith.  Without practicing these disciplines, we become flabby and ineffective just as one does in any area of life that requires discipline.  What are these disciplines?  

  • Spending time in the Word of God - including reading, memorizing, and meditating on the Word
  • Prayer - spending time with God both alone and corporately with other members of the faith
  • Worship - which would include church attendance as well as the state in which we live our lives
  • Evangelism - sharing our faith as ambassadors for the kingdom of God
  • Service - having a servant’s heart to be the hands and feet of Christ within our community and to the world
  • Stewardship - realizing everything we have belongs to God, the earth, what we own, our relationships, all belong to God and so we should care for it as such and be willing to give back to Him at least the portion He lays on our hearts to give
  • Fasting refraining in some way from something to more fully focus on Christ, the direction of the Holy Spirit, and a life of holiness and selflessness
  • Surrender - putting the Lord’s calling on our lives in all areas above our own desires, in fact making His good pleasure the main desire of our hearts knowing that His good pleasure is really meant for our good as well
  • Fellowship - meeting with others in the faith involves being with like-minded people at play, in study, in worship, for encouragement, for accountability, and more
  • Gratitude - giving thanks in everything and in every circumstance as a practice of life.  This discipline would turn our lives upside down and get rid of the need for a number of medications

There are more but how many of us even practice these regularly.  If we who call ourselves Christian would practice these disciplines, oh the freedom and joy we would unleash.  Could it be that we do not see a vibrant impact of the Christian church today because the world does not see the freedom we have in Christ without the discipline of the faith practiced among its members?

... On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; 

Three good books on Spiritual Discipline:





A to Z Challenge


10 comments:

  1. Excellent F post. and awe inspiring to read.

    Have a good week-end.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Thank you, Yvonne. YOU inspire me with your encouragement. YOU are a blessing. God bless, Maria

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  2. Excellent post. My homiletic (preaching) professors in college each represented each side of the coin. One was all about the grace and the other call people out taking their faith seriously. A lot of people tend to lean one way or the other.

    Returning visit from A to Z. Thanks for coming by my blog.

    Brett Minor
    Transformed Nonconformist

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    1. Hi Brett, It really is important that we apply grace in the context of taking our faith seriously, isn't it? We all have a tendency to pull one way or another at times, and have to spend time with God so we can grow and stay in balance to apply faith with grace. 1 Pet 3:15-16 says, "Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks ou to give an account for the hope that is within you, yet with gentleness and reverence." There is a lot in that verse to indicate the importance of staying in tune with our relationship with God in order to be an effective ambassador, but always honoring and respecting those who we reach out to. God bless, Maria

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  3. Discipline for the purpose of godliness...hmm...something to meditate on. You've blessed me again. Thanks, Maria!

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    1. Thanks Sharon, yes the Word of God is living and active always teaching us and blessing. Thanks for coming by. God bless, Maria

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  4. Discipline means areas of our life become a habit. We don't have to think about them anymore, we just do. Which gives us the freedom to explore other avenues.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Alex, I do agree that aspects of discipline mean developing good life habits and there is freedom in that. God bless, Maria

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  5. I'm proud to see how disciplined my sons have become in college and graduate school. I agree that these are wonderful skills that they can use for the rest of their lives.

    Julie

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    1. Hi Julie, You should be proud of them. I am sure you had a role in instilling that discipline in therm and it will serve them well in life. Thanks for stopping by. God bless, Maria

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