Discipline: aka, Training

Me and Discipline…yeah. We don’t get along. I’m a free spirit, man. Who needs routines and schedules? They mess with my…er…free-ness. Time constraints put a damper on my creativity. Artists don’t need watches unless they’re writing about them or painting them.

They also help you stay organized and build character and pass exams and graduate and have a life…and, most importantly, be tight with Jesus.

I think for a while I was under some kind of delusion that the above paragraph was actually legitimate and I lived by that philosophy. And then it took me a year and a half longer to graduate from internet high school, at which point I rethought this and realized it was basically total fish guts. Aside from the laziness (physical and spiritual) that living like this cultivated in me, it’s irrational. Never scheduling/planning means I had LESS time to do what I actually wanted to do, and could never relax while doing it because I knew I hadn’t done all the things I had to do. Laziness, anyone will tell you, is a hard habit to break. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a way of thinking. Try and change your way of thinking and see how far you get.

Sin technically only exists if you believe in God, and if you don’t then it’s all about morality, which is relative, and that discussion never ends. But sin and its consequences are actually super practical, and I’m always surprised that people who don’t think there is such a thing…don’t think there is such a thing. Before Christ, we have this concept that God is restrictive, that sin = freedom. Okay. So using that logic, yay! I’m free to get as drunk as I want! Of course, this means being crazy sick the next day and being a useless lug and not getting anything done. So…I’m free to fail at life! Also, I’m free to sleep with as many people as I want! Meaning I’m free to get VD and totally mess up my emotional life and live in a soap opera where everything is wrong all the time and not be able to have a good, solid marriage one day. Yeah…that doesn’t sound like freedom to me, and if that IS freedom, I don’t want it.

The biggest sins in my own life are laziness, being judgmental, my out of control tongue, and…laziness. These don’t seem so bad on the surface (compared to murder or whatever), but they are REALLY, really bad. And I can’t fix them on my own…I’ve tried. The best I’ve managed to do in my own power is to not do ONE of these things for about 30 minutes. It’s like trying to plug twenty holes with ten fingers. If we don’t surrender to Christ, we don’t change, not really. It’s really rather simple…now if we can just apply it.

But luckily, if our hearts are to follow after Christ, he won’t just leave our lazy, judgmental behinds lying in the dust. He uses things in our lives that act as sandpaper to work off all the rough edges, and sometimes he uses a chisel or a knife to break and cut off things that shouldn’t be there. It isn’t pleasant if we just focus on the thing itself, but when we realize that God is sovereign over everything and that his hand is in everything, it’s encouraging. A father disciplines his children, not some random stranger off the street. When God disciplines us it’s out of love, and it’s evidence that we are truly his children. Oswald Chambers wrote something along these lines…that there are storms in our lives, but that Jesus in always in the clouds (Revelation 1:7). If we have the faith to see him in the storm, we’ll know that there are no coincidences, that his hand is over everything in our lives, and that everything is an opportunity to learn something from God. One of the most dangerous prayers is “Jesus, mold me and change me.” If you pray this, hang onto your seat. Or actually, let go.

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