Going for the Gold

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” – Luke 9:23.

For a bishop (literally: overseer) must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled (disciplined – NIV), holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. – Titus 1:7-9.

When I was in junior high I was having trouble with spelling tests which we had every week on Fridays. We were to spell and then write out the definition for twenty words. It all changed when I decided to actually study and memorize the spelling and definition of the words. Instead of a barely passing grade I began receiving perfect scores on the spelling tests. But there was a price to pay and it was a matter of discipline. I had to discipline myself to spend the time necessary to study and learn the material.

I am not and never was an athlete, although I was involved with TaeKwon-Do for a time. I do know that it takes much discipline to succeed in any sport and I can only marvel at the amazing athletic ability of those participating in the Olympic Games in China. What great discipline they have had to have to even reach these games! Michael Phelps for example has trained every day four hours in the water and one hour on land. Now that training is paying off with broken world speed records and gold medals.

In most areas of life we know that in order to excel we must be disciplined. Certainly an athlete must be disciplined to attain Olympic form and quality. An artist must practice their art as must a musician. Most, however, seem to resist the idea of discipline for the Christian in mastering the Christian disciplines. Jesus in Luke 9:23 is clearly stating the need for discipline to live the Christian life. He says it will not be easy when He says to take up our cross and to deny ourselves. He makes it clear, we are to be disciplined when he says to do this “daily.”

It takes discipline to read the Word of God regularly, to pray frequently, and to attend church faithfully. Of course, these things alone do not make up a life wholly given to God. But they are necessary before a life can be wholly given to God. Margueritte Bro, a great prayer warrior, once said, “In almost any skill allied to science, or plain old living, it is every day that counts. Prayer grows in meaning as we grow in practice. The very regularity of our period of devotion works for us… inducing the mood and quality of devotion.”

Are you disciplined in your devotional life? Maybe it is time for a renewed commitment to a daily walk with your Lord? A disciplined devotional life will bring rewards of joy, peace, inner strength, steadfastness and more here on earth and far more in eternity. Let us all go for the gold!!

(In every area of life there must be some personal discipline if we are to be successful.)

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