I learned something real quick when I began seminary in the fall of 2008. I learned the lesson again when I became a pastor of Vintage Church. I learned that my lack of discipline could quickly hold me back from the incredible work God had called me to. After 5 years of marriage, 3 1/2 years of seminary, over 1 year of pastoring the local church, and 9 months of being a daddy I’ve learned I must develop discipline in my own life.
Developing discipline in your life is a biblically-based idea. Several passages in Scripture speak to it. In Genesis 2:15 the Bible says “the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” God created work and demanded that Adam do the work. This required discipline from Adam. Think about Jesus. In John 17:4, hours before his death, Jesus says “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” We know that Jesus’ work was not easy. It required discipline from him to complete what the Father asked of him. One of the most clear passages in Scripture about discipline is Proverbs 6:6-11. The writer shares:
Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.
If any passage is clear about the importance of discipline, it is Proverbs 6:6-11. Ultimately passages such as 1 Corinthians 10:31 and Colossians 3:17 scream “BE disciplined.” If we are to glorify God in all that we do, we must be disciplined. Otherwise our work is sloppy and not our best. So what’s the answer? How do we become more disciplined? Last Sunday I shared some principles with our community group leaders that are applicable to all people. If you struggle with discipline these principles are for you. So here they are:
- Define your role(s)
- What are some roles you fill? What do you do. Think about your purpose and passion. What have you been called to accomplish in your life? What gets you excited? For my own life I fill several roles. I’m a Christian, a husband, a father, a pastor, a student, a friend, and many others. I’m driven and passionate about these roles.
- Determine your goals
- Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? In order to create discipline I have to determine my goals for the various roles I fill. When I determine my goals they will often begin very broad but they need to become more narrow and specific. You need to set SMART Goals. These are goals that are Simple, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
- If you want to create discipline in your life you have to schedule your goals. That includes planning, prioritizing, and literally putting these goals into your calendar. What are you going to do to accomplish your goals? How are you going to arrange your plans to accomplish goals.
- Execute & Evaluate
- There comes a point where you have to actually do something. If you’ve planned, prioritized, and scheduled your goals, you have to actually do what you planned to meet your goals. Once you do it, evaluate how well you did. Don’t settle for mediocrity. God wants your best. Evaluate and do better next time.
It’s that simple. Define your roles, determine your goals, schedule it, and execute & evaluate. If you’ve ever tried to create discipline in your life you know it’s not exactly that simple. Developing discipline in your life requires hard work, determination, and really…discipline. But you can do it. God desires for you to do things well. Honor God and those you love and care for the most. Develop discipline in your life.