One of the best books I’ve read this year so far has been Elisabeth Elliot’s book: Discipline: The Glad Surrender. When I read the title I immediately thought about my Grace Goal for this year: discipline. You see, God has been laying on my heart the idea of discipline for a few years; but this year I’ve decided I need to listen to His voice. As I read this book, I realized I didn’t just need help with discipline for my own physical body when it came to food; I need help with EVERY aspect of my life.
My thoughts need disciplined.
My spiritual habits need disciplined.
My sleep needs disciplined.
My responses to people need disciplined.
It was a convicting book, but it was also so incredibly encouraging. Listen to some of her wisdom here:
In the lives of Samuel, David, Jeremiah, Matthew, and Saul of Tarsus, as well as in many others in the Bible, there is evident the strong sense of being known of being taken over, possess, called, acted upon. They were not men who were especially concerned with the questions, Is God using me? How can I be a great servant of God? They were not concerned with credit, with plans for notoriety or success. Whatever their own plans might have been, God’s took precedence. – Elliot
Isn’t this the heart of discipline? Letting God take control of our plans? It is a hard place to be, especially me: a self-proclaimed “planner-control-freak.” So letting God have control our lives is not just a letting go, but as Paul says: a putting on.
A disciplined life is not one of devoid passions; empty pursuits, and a door-mat syndrome. A disciplined life is one who is wholly and 100% sold-out for Jesus (as my 1990’s friends would call it). Christians have an advantage when it comes to discipline, don’t we? These two things we have that non-believers do not have:
- We have a model to follow in Christ. In fact, Jesus is not just our “model” but He is our goal. As Christians, every step we take to improve is not for our benefit, but to bring us closer to look like Christ.
- We have the power of the Spirit. I am glad I don’t have to “better myself” in my own power. In fact, letting go of control and letting the Holy Spirit lead is both freeing and terrifying for me. Yet I don’t have to do this disciplined life alone.
What is keeping you from a disciplined life? I can’t say how God is speaking to your heart; but I can tell you this: discipline in the Christian life is one dependent on the Savior. Stop striving and start resting. There is work to do – yes. I must learn how to go to bed earlier in order to get up earlier. I must learn strategies and best practices when it comes to healthy eating. I must do the work: but I must, must, must leave the results up to God.
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