Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Joy of Discipline

There's a trend at the beginning of January for many people to find a "word" for the year. This year, I decided to jump on that bandwagon and prayed that God would give me a good one!

Disciple was what I got.


Does that mean I'm to become a disciple or I'm to disciple others?

All was quiet on the Heaven front. 

So, I decided that maybe I'm supposed to disciple younger women. I tried finding some in my church. I sort of stalked a few, hopefully without them knowing it. I just kind of watched and thought, " it her?" 

But no one asked and I didn't know how to ask, so it sort of got forgotten. Maybe I didn't hear God right.

Until yesterday when I started writing about routine. The post began to take another turn and I realized it was really two posts when I delved into the word, "discipline."

It's taken me ten months to figure out this word, but I finally got it!

There is joy in discipline. 

Paul said to buffet our bodies...he wasn't talking about the all you can eat kind (credit for this one goes to Joyce Meyer). He was talking about discipline--the all you can handle kind of buffet. (I Cor 9:27). 

A few months ago I began a personalized eating plan and stepped up my exercise in an effort not so much to lose weight, but to become healthy and to eventually get off the medications I was on. I figured that a great byproduct of that would be weight loss, but I didn't want to focus on that.

It has become a whole different lifestyle for me, one that I've actually embraced (and it's working!). But it hasn't been without hard work, determination, and discipline.

The discipline of right eating and exercise has actually overflowed into my spiritual life.  Because my focus is no longer on food, I no longer spend inordinate amounts of time thinking about it. Food has become fuel for me, not an idol.

I have turned my focus to God, and the embers of faith that were once barely lit have been reignited. My passion for learning, for digging in the bible, for prayer, for teaching, for loving God and others is slowly returning. And with it, new discoveries!

Discipline and disciple come from the same Latin root, discipulus, meaning pupil. If we are to be disciples of Jesus, godly followers, we must become pupils, like His first followers, learning self-control and...well, discipline.

Because when we discipline--buffet--our body, mind and spirit, we are training ourselves to be godly (1 Tim 4:7). 

Therefore, when one area suffers, they all do, because discipline is across the board. 

If you can discipline yourself in one area of your life, you can discipline yourself in another. If you think you can't, then you haven't disciplined your mind.

In order to become a disciple, we need to learn self-discipline. It's interesting what Wikipedia has to say about this:

Self-discipline is, to some extent, a substitute for motivation. 

Hmmm....So...I guess it's safe to say that motivation and self-discipline go hand in hand. You need to be motivated in order to discipline yourself, and you need to discipline yourself to be motivated.

What joy there is in discovering the meaning of "my word." Disciple=Discipline. God never explained it because He knew I wasn't ready to receive the meaning. I wasn't ready to break out of my unhealthy habits and take on something new. I wasn't willing to encounter Jesus in a radical new way.

Heaven was silent because I lacked the motivation to change. I was content to become a disciple as long as it didn't require much work on my part-as long as I didn't have to leave everything and follow Him.

Ha! That's the irony. It doesn't work that way. We must lay down our nets, whatever they may be, and follow. 

There is a cost--the cost of our desire to be complacent. But oh, the joy of relinquishing that which we hold so dear-that which we think satisfies us only to discover the richness of a life fulfilled by becoming a true disciple-one who is motivated and disciplined.

What are you struggling to hold on to today? What "net" is Jesus asking you to drop to follow Him? I pray that you will find the strength, the motivation, and the discipline to relinquish that which you hold so dear and grab hold of the life that is meant for you-a life of abundant joy!

Blessings Along the Path,

sharing this blog with some of these lovely bloggers and with Write 31 Days

This is part of the Write 31 Days series. Click here to read other posts about Intentional Joy! 


  1. Boy, you packed a wallop with this post, Mary! So much good stuff all throughout. I didn't know that disciple come from the Latin root of "pupil." Interesting! And those gals you were stalking, well, they don't know what a blessing could be heading their way! I hope that you are able to pour into those around you like you pour into us here each day, my friend. You have a lot of wisdom to share and that, in itself, is a motivator. I know that when I see that light bulb go on over someone's head that I've been mentoring, it really is so gratifying. I hope you get to turn some "light bulbs" on in your hometown, girlfriend!

    1. yes, and the words discipline and disciple both come from the same root. Pupil or learner. Beth, I confess, I have no idea how to disciple, but if it is meant to happen, I kind of feel like it will just happen. And certainly, I know I've mentored in other areas besides spiritual. So, there's that.

  2. Alrighty, then...I'm turning off this computer and heading out for my morning walk/"intensity burst" (during which I jog and pray for it to be over)/prayer/Scripture memory power combo. Thanks for getting me out the door, Mary! Always a delight to stop by your blog house...doing it today from the Favorite Things Blog Hop!

    1. I just love your humor, Elizabeth! Hope you read this on your cool down!

  3. Hi! Updated the Ruby Blogger Team page with your picture and link, and featured this post on the Ruby blog today. I'll be watching for your submissions for the holiday issue of the Ruby magazine, and we'll talk again next week about your book. Send me anything else you want me to feature in the magazine or blog and I'll get some stuff to you so you can tell your readers about Ruby. Have a great day! Nina

  4. This is so important. I learned so much about discipline when reading through 2 Timothy last Fall. Discipline is such a gift from God that He uses in our lives! Love this post.