Tag Archives: Fellowship

Drift Vs. Discipline

Just to set the record straight – discipline is training, not punishment. A well disciplined soldier is a well trained soldier. A well disciplined child is a well trained child. So when I think about Drift vs. Discipline, I’m thinking about when we get out of training and just kind of drift along. It is failing to follow through on what we know will help us achieve our goals and just sort of hope it happens naturally. Are we messed up in our thinking or what?

There are four spiritual disciplines that share a unique relationship: fellowship, study, prayer and solitude. Fellowship and solitude each enhance study and prayer, but they are opposite of each other. These are also four of the first targets of drift. We tend to drift out of fellowship with like believers, drift out of that quiet time each day with God. We know we should study and pray, but we choose to drift along because the schedule is tight today. Eventually, due to the lack of discipline or training, we become out of shape. We become spiritually out of shape.

There is a saying that faith walks out when fatigue walks in. Drift can happen quickly during times of ill health, stressful situations, financial crisis and so forth. Things that wear you down and wear you out – fatigue – can wear down your faith; unless of course you are well disciplined. Even if the crisis causes you to miss a few days of Bible study and prayer, your training will eventually draw you back to what has given you strength.

So what’s the answer for drift? Discipline! Be well trained during the times when things are going well. Get your mind and body used to times of fellowship. study, prayer and solitude when there is no temptation to follow the lure of the drift. When things go wrong – and they will – you will return to what you know and the strength you receive from that training.

It is football season and I love watching those long passes. The quarterback sees his best shot and throws. The receiver is still running, not even looking at the QB and just at the right time, he turns around to make eye contact and catch the ball. Think that happens by accident? It’s called training. It’s called discipline. That play has been rehearsed so many times that it comes naturally to the receiver to turn around and catch the ball at the right time. The ball doesn’t accidentally drift into his hands. He’s been trained to catch it.

The spiritual disciplines are there for your training and development, because a continuing relationship with the God of the universe doesn’t happen by accident. Don’t get me wrong. Let me say it loud and proud right here – Jesus did it all and there is nothing we can do. It is all Jesus, reaching out to us and starting that relationship with us. It is all Him. But once that relationship is started, He wants you to grow and develop and follow Him. That happens with discipline, with training as you choose to stay in that relationship that Jesus has initiated.

Ready for training?

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Costly?

“Salvation is free, but discipleship is costly.” Kenneth W. Osbeck.

When I read these words early this morning I knew it wasn’t talking about pennies, inflation or returns on an investment, at least not in the general sense that we would normally expect. Discipleship cost me this morning. It cost me a half hour of sleep that nearly caused parts of me to mutiny. I did manage to get my whole self to my quiet place to spend time with my Creator and I was glad.

Discipleship is costly. That’s a nice piece of typical Christian jargon to throw around, but let’s make it a little more practical. Spiritual Disciplines are costly. That hour of Fellowship with like believers, it will cost me that time I wanted all to myself to be a bit lazy. That discipline of Sacrifice will cost me that pedicure I was so sure I absolutely needed. The need to be in Service to others will cost me time I could have spent watching the latest lineup on my favorite television network or satellite channel.

Salvation is free. There is nothing we can do to earn it. Praise God! After we have received this amazing grace gift, God calls us to get to know Him better, closer. He calls us to discipleship and that is where it can get costly. But God is a perfect gentleman, so He never forces. You can choose to practice the disciplines of simplicity, meditation, humility, frugality, confession and fasting, among others; but you are never forced to do so. Love that is demanded ceases to be love.

Discipleship can be costly, if you choose not to draw closer to God. What? Isn’t that just opposite of what I already said? Nope, not a bit. You see God has promised many things to us, powerful and wonderful things that come about in our relationship – read discipleship – with Him. Failure to be in discipleship will cost you the peace that passes all understanding. Failure to turn your lack of control over to the One who promised to give you grace whenever needed, could cost you that promotion you were hoping to get. Tossing aside prayer and reflection as unnecessary will rob you of moments of awe and praise to God; for answered prayers and moments of deep revelation.

“Salvation is free, but discipleship is costly.” A question for each one of us today is, which side of the equation am I on at this point in my life? Am I worried about the costs of my time and money? Costs to my pride, career and advancement? Or am I in that stage in my life where I worry more about missing out on the peace that comes from practicing silence and the joy that comes from the discipline of celebration?

Discipleship is costly. Tossing aside the blessings of spiritual disciplines is costly.

The God that made salvation free and available to you wants to get to know you better. Take the time to practice some spiritual disciplines today, but remember, discipleship is costly. You may even lose your tastes and desires for fleeting things and long earnestly instead for worship, submission, intimacy, guidance and study of God’s Word. You may even choose to be a life long disciple of Jesus Christ.

 

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