Discipline, what an ugly word. It's not a word we get excited about when we hear it. We often try to avoid even talking about it. Maybe when you hear the word, it only brings up negative thoughts. Maybe all you can think about is raising children.
But today I'm referring to self-discipline. Even worse, right? You see, I've been thinking about this word a lot lately as I looked at my own goals for this page of the website. My goal was to put up a devotional every week. Fortunately, I never told everyone my exact goal. I left it rather ambiguous in the description box on this page, so I could let myself off the hook a little.
But still, I know what my goal was and I'm not happy with myself. I could give all kinds of excuses about being too busy, but I know the real problem: self-discipline. The discipline it takes to set time aside and put in the work it takes to write well, whether that's a song or a devotional. It's the same discipline I lack when trying to lose a few pounds (but, let's not go there)!
In fact, we won't spend a lot of time at all on the struggle to do the right thing. What I want to focus on is the power we have to overcome our struggle. As I was praying about my goals and priorities recently I was reminded that when I focused on my short-comings, I'm left feeling so discouraged that I want to give up. But when I focus on my position as a loved, redeemed, child of the Father, I suddenly feel like there's nothing I can't take on. (Now, if I could only discipline myself to get into God's word every morning to be reminded of that!)
As a child of God, I know that I can trust God to be faithful and just and forgive. (I John 1:9) As a child of God, I can rest in the promise that my salvation does not depend on my hard work, but on His mercy. (Romans 9:16) As a child of God, I can know that Jesus will remain in me as I remain in Him. And as I remain in Him, He will make me useful. (John 15)
So, even though I'll never be as disciplined as I'd like to be, I can keep trying, knowing that I am loved anyway. I can keep trying, knowing that God will make me better than I could ever be on my own. I can keep trying, knowing that
"we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." Romans 8:37