It's one of the tuffest things to grasp; but nothing yields better results than this. We loathe it. We consider it our worst nightmare; while it is our well wisher bringing dreams to reality. We despise it; while it constantly desires the best for us. It's name, for us, is synonymous with pain; but it's single objective is to make us gain. It's like a ruthless coach that has the attitude of give-me-your-all-or-give-me-nothing! Hence we think of it as an intruder, hijacking our space. We run away from it, avoid it, ignore it and suppress it. We explain it away with excuses. It's so simple that nothing we do regularly can be done without its assistance. You know it - coz you and I stand accused by it! Got it now? Discipline!
Our surroundings are the best analysts. They tell us more than we want to hear. They either accuse or applaud us based on our discipline levels. If you're a disciplined person, your office table looks cleaner, your appointment schedule smarter, your bathroom fresher and your bed room happier.
The reason you couldn't finish your project on time, or buy groceries for home on due date is because you weren't disciplined. The call you promised to return or the meeting you postponed indefinitely could have been avoided, if only you were disciplined. It's so practical that some of us can think it isn't that spiritual. One may say with the authority of God’s Word that, discipline is such a Godly principle, that even if the devil were to succeed, he must have discipline.
Discipline can turn a runner into a champion, a chiseler into an architect. It can make a preacher out of a passionate follower. It can bring an astronaut out of a star gazer. A loving-serving husband out of a demanding-bossy man.
Am I saying that discipline is the "only" thing that enables us to be successful and complete. The answer is both no and yes. No because we need other things as well. Yes because, it enhances everything. Everything will be sharpened by discipline. It's God's tool in making us like His Son - Jesus Christ (Make sure you read Hebrews 12:5-11)
If you are convinced that you need to be coached by God to discipline you - then read on!
FOUR DISCIPLINE DRIVERS
1. Stop thinking like a stupid - Think the truth
Read this verse and you'll get a hang of what I'm saying. Proverbs 12:1- Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid. (I hope I'm vindicated now for using the word stupid). Like any other Godly principle, discipline also begins by thinking correctly. People who don't have the truth at the heart of their thinking won't have the privilege of developing this attitude. Truth should not only be learnt, but we must be mastered by it. Which means a believer of Jesus Christ, must allow God's Spirit to take control of his core being (heart, mind & soul) by submitting to the Word. Those who do so, will see the power of God's truth electrify their lives and become busy living a disciplined life. The Bible calls it being transformed by the renewing of mind. Only one of the two things can guide your thinking, a. God's Word(the eternal truth) b. Your thoughts (which are but assumptions). What coal is in comparison to a diamond, our thoughts are in comparison to God's Word. Without the truth of God's Word, all common sense will leave us only learned stupids. I'm neither joking nor intimidating. That's the plain truth.
2. Love discipline to love knowledge - Learn to love what matters
I often prayed (like most of us do) asking God to wake me up in the morning to beat my laziness or keep me from gobbling up more food than I should in greed (may be this isn't your problem, but you know what you prayed for). But I often felt the Lord was silent on these issues, until I was shot by this verse - Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge. What? I love knowledge. After all, the most powerful thing in the human kingdom has always has been knowledge. Everything (including technology) is boosted by knowledge (may be that's why it's called information and technology). But the Bible says, that a person who doesn't love discipline, cannot love knowledge. In other words, none can truly benefit from knowledge (love knowledge) until he learns to love discipline. The command here is not to be disciplined, but to love discipline. This is what the Spirit of God does in a person who each day submits to His authority. He begins to put His desires in us (Read Romans 8:5). Discipline is a Godly attitude. We tend to love things that are worthless and useless. When we submit to God's Spirit, He sets our minds and hearts on things that are of Him and He even makes us love what He loves.
3. Identify and work on the easiest area - Apply SCS
This is sanctified common sense. Here’s an illustration. The opposite of a disciplined man is a lazy man - sluggard is the name for him. A lot of space is given in the book of proverbs to this man (not for his merits, but for his maladies). Take a look at what He is doing in Proverbs 26:14 - As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed. if you are like this guy(pardon me) but the easiest thing you can do is to think of a plan to overcome this area of indiscipline. (Please wait before you can dump on me all those complaints of how you tried trusting the alarm to wake you up, kept the widow curtain fully open hoping the piercing morning sunlight will disturb your sleep, etc.) It is not easy, but neither is living easy, but each day we practice it. Don't we? Listen to the words of a successful man, "my powers are ordinary, it's the application(of what I learn)that makes me successful"- Isaac Newton. Stop worrying and trying to set other things right. Work on that one area which is the easiest. I'm not at all saying, that, if you struggle with waking up in the morning, somehow it becomes easy just because you followed the first two steps (thinking the truth and loving discipline). No it doesn't become easy. But sleeping early(the day before), eating on time and eating right amount of food, working hard enough through the day so that you are tired enough to sleep. All these things contribute. This is what becomes easy. And then gradually your habits also will be altered. This is what I call - Sanctified Common Sense. Apply it!
4. Practice - This is the salt of this habit
What salt is to curry, practice is to discipline. As the proverb says "practice makes a man perfect", we shall truly become perfect, if not invincible. Many loose their talents because they don't sharpen them. They don't like taking their talents to the garage of daily practice to sharpen their talents. And hence the reward is mediocrity. I'm writing this to myself as much as I write this to you. One of the reasons I'm writing this is to sharpen my gift of writing (thanks for being a part of my shaping process - you chose to read this article!) Can you think of one thing that you learnt without practicing? Discipline in different areas of life needs practice. Practice is difficult only to those who want a good return without investing anything in the bank. Like Krish Danam said "You can pay now and play later or play now and play later". Pay now!
If you read this. You are in a dangerous spot now, if you choose to leave and do nothing about it. Take a pen or open a notepad and write down one/two areas in which you want to be disciplined. Write them down and immediately pray. Ask God to forgive you for being an undisciplined person and allowing this sin to ruin you. Ask God to become your Lord and leader in every area. If you have not surrendered your life to Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord, do it now. After you pray. Think of a plan with God's help to overcome that sin.
Everyday we can choose to live with the pain of regret or the pain of discipline!
Choose the latter!