This past month I have been training for a marathon. I wake up early, get dressed, and head out to run. Most days I am excited to get up and run, but not everyday. Some days I am dreading getting out of bed. I lay in bed thinking, “Why would I get up to run when it feels so good to just go back to sleep?”
But even on those hard days, I still get up and run.
What I have noticed is that at the end of my run, I never regret getting up and doing it. I like the feeling of sticking with my goal and making healthy choices that benefit me physically.
You could probably ask most people who work out regularly if they have a similar experience, and I am willing to bet they would say yes. They might not always feel like working out, but through discipline they do it anyways. When they continue to exercise, they see their desire change and begin wanting to do it.
This is true of pretty much anything whether it be school, work, eating healthy, or whatever goals you make. If we waited till we felt like doing calculus homework, we would never end up doing it!
Discipline breeds desire.
This is true in most areas of our lives, but when it comes to our spiritual life, we tend to hold to conventional wisdom. Conventional wisdom states that before we do something, we first have to feel like doing it. We say things like, “I know I should read my bible, but I don’t feel like doing it right now. And I want it to be something I enjoy doing.” So we choose not to. It's good that we want to enjoy reading the Bible, but that’s the wrong resolution.
Proverbs 13:4 says, “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.”
The lazy person and the hard worker here both want the same thing here, but it says only the hard worker is the one who prospers.
When we don’t feel like reading God’s word, our response should be to read it out of discipline. Quality comes from quantity. The more consistent you are, the more you will desire to do it. Desire is the goal. Discipline is the means.
This isn’t only true for getting in the word, you can apply this principle to any aspect of your walk with God. Whether you want a more abundant prayer life, to share the gospel more, or a certain sin issue that continues to come up, discipline yourself and you'll see that your desire will follow.
Pick one spiritual discipline you want to grow in. Make a goal and do it everyday this week. Those first few days may be tough, but once you start seeing consistency in your life, you will notice how much more you desire it. When you feel like giving in or giving up remember that discipline breeds desire.
Discuss these questions with a friend or spiritual leader to help apply today's reading:
How are things going in your walk with God? What is one area that is difficult to stay disciplined in right now?
How do you think discipline could help that habit? Who is a person that you think could help you in this?
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