• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Discipline comes second

A few weeks ago, I went to see my doctor, in an effort to find an excuse for getting out of running the Florence marathon. My doctor listened carefully and when I was done ‘whining’, he asked me one simple question: “Mr Riddell, how have you been feeling these days?”  I couldn’t lie to him and so I said that, honestly, I was feeling really, really good; better than I have in a long, long time.  “You know why?” he asked.  My quick response was that it was because I was running a whole lot more these days in preparation for the marathon.  His response was insightful: it was not because of the increased number of kilometers I was running.  It was because I now had an objective, a clear challenge.

That challenge then gave rise to the discipline of running more regularly.  I left his office with a renewed sense of purpose and a willingness to press on towards November 25th (the date when I will be running the Florence marathon with our oldest daughter and son).

I began to wonder if there was not a possible parallel between the words of my doctor and our journey with Christ.  So often, we push discipline into first place in our lives — we just have to keep doing more, we think. A Christian, we say, must do more of this or that to grow in his or her Christian life.

What if the larger objective, the greater challenge took centre stage?  What if ‘glorifying God’ because of His mercy and love poured out on us was our first motivation?  Wouldn’t the discipline needed to keep walking with Christ be the natural (second) response to knowing that our lives are meant to be an act of worship and thanks to the God who loves us?

Ask yourself this question today: Did I read the Bible today because it was part of what I had to do as Christian?  Did I spend time with God today because that’s what a believer has to do?

If the answer to either question is ‘yes’, maybe it’s time to have a chat with the Great Physician and hear these words again and take them to heart: you are my beloved child in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17)