“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment.”
— Jim Rohn (1930–2009)
Is there any collaboration between the words “discipline” and “disciple”? The disciple is disciplined in following their master. If we are a disciple of Jesus we take up our cross, for such a disciple truly has chosen to pick up their cross daily (see Matthew 10:38; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; Luke 14:27). Taking up our cross is hinged to discipline; every right and moral kind to the aversion of sin, for sin (and folly) will lead to regret and disappointment.
Having been saved by Jesus’ obedience on the cross, and having died to sin by the Holy Spirit’s sanctification, we are to live daily with this power to live the resurrection life.
The resurrection life is the power for discipline; the joy to go without; peace within to abstain and engage; yes, the joy to take part in real life. These disciplines of the life raised in Christ propel us in growth so we would disengage from many powers for sin and simultaneously engage with many powers for life. This is health.
Disciplines of the Cross
Living the resurrection life is a concurrent twofold reality of God’s grace and blessing to live the disciplined life. This is, as I’ve said, power to both abstain and engage.
We abstain by seeking our solitude and silence, by fasting, by being appropriately frugal and seeking to attain and maintain our chastity, and by the integrity of secrecy (keeping confidences and denying our pride of bragging), and ultimately by our commitment and strength of virtuous sacrifice.
We engage by a study pattern that works for us, by our worship, and our celebration of life and God, through our service, and committed action to prayer, and by fellowship with believers. Finally, we engage via confession and submission unto God.
These disciplines of the Cross are not easy, but they are abundantly worth it.
These disciplines of the Cross, though they require commitment and effort and maintenance, redeem for us a broad corpus of blessing, for our commitment to such disciplines saves us from both regret and disappointment as these are personally concerned.
We cannot be truly happy unless we work for our happiness within the grace apportioned to us by our Master. The Christian life is no freebie. God has saved us and will continue to deliver us into the new life, but we must take our responsibility—taking up our crosses, daily, and by each moment—in living (by action) this resurrection life.
There is no true life other than the resurrection life—to take up our cross and work diligently in obedience to the Lord. When we put the Kingdom of God first, doing right things to the best of our ability, God ensures we are blessed.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.