Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thoughts on Discipline

I thought about discipline as I was scrubbing the toilet. One task I never choose for enjoyment, though I always appreciate the end product, it is an act of will to begin wiping the dirty sides. Once a week isn't often enough; in a house with children, a clean toilet requires consistency. Discipline.

But the discipline learned by cleaning the toilet has other uses as well. Bent over the toilet I thought about the military. They know a thing or two about discipline. Picture starched underwear. I don't think anyone, at heart, believes there is innate value to a pair of starched undies. Still they ask, how can a man who can't even fold his underwear expect to lead others? It seems a valid question.

This disciplined faithfulness bears fruit in any area requiring discipline. For the New Year I opted (as usual) against resolutions. I thought of goals and came up with a list of new endeavors. Then I stopped myself. What I need isn't an ever expanding to-do list. I need the self-discipline to do well all the things already asked of me. If I can't even keep a clean toilet I don't need to look for anything else to do, I need the foundational lesson. Discipline.

Lest I make the mistake of assuming this discipline applies only to cleaning toilets, or losing weight, or waking up in the morning, God brought this quote to my attention:
"It has been well said that the future is with the disciplined, and that quality has been placed first...for without it the other gifts, however great, will never realize their maximum potential. Only the disciplined person will rise to his highest powers. He is able to lead because he has conquered himself."  - J. Oswald Sanders
I tell myself: no cheap grace that falls back on a claim of God doing it all. I must rejoice in a sovereign who promises "unblameable holiness" by His Spirit and requires my utmost. My utmost amounts to feeble efforts, and half completed promises. He requires discipline that, while utterly reliant on Him, tries again and again and again and again. And again. I wait for Him to move, and my will to fall into place.
"But I discipline my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified."                                I Corinthians 9:27
"...rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ." Colossians 2:5
"On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;"               I Timothy 4:7b
I'll be working on this until I have disciplined my body and made it my slave. That will be a very long time. So long, in fact, that I can't even type the words without a smile of irony on my face.


1 comment:

  1. My similar realization while I was reading yet another craft blog: I don't need more ideas, I just need to get off of the computer and do something! anything!