Discipline, Training, and other Four-Lettered Words

Discipline is a dirty word, generally speaking, in the culture in which we live. We are bombarded with images every day that encourage us to super-size our food, our beverages, our desserts and our portions. Instant gratification is the buzzword. If I can’t have it NOW, it isn’t worth having.

Further we are pelted with images on our phones, our televisions, our email, and on billboards with gratify all matters of consumerism, voyeurism, fetishism, and communicates to us that all of this sensual experience can be ours. We are told, “Go ahead! You can’t help yourself!” And we wonder why society is going the way that it is.

Discipline is frequently lost in the world we live in today.

I confess that I struggle with self-discipline. I think anyone who is truly honest and transparent does so. After all, discipline means delaying gratification. Discipline and training take word, sweat, and effort.

WeightLift_inlineI have been introduced to this four-lettered word, discipline the hard way. I have been on a journey to better health. For me that means loosing weight…and a lot of it. I have been tracking every bite that goes in my mouth. That in and of itself is hard. Such mindfulness has forced me to make choices. After all, do you have any idea how long you have to spend on a treadmill to work of one large Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard?

I have been tracking my exercise. Forcing myself to go to the gym and to be more active. That is really not fun. However, the long-term payoff is pretty good. I have lost weight. My knees feel better, and the Doctor LOVES my blood work numbers. My clothes are mysteriously getting larger! I still have a long way to go…but I can see some payoff.

All of this has caused me to think about the most difficult training of all. The training necessary to discipline our minds. After all, there isn’t an app to count what I am looking at, what I am seeing, what I am reading, or what I listen to . I am acutely aware of the drift in society to glorify and gratify the violent, the profane, the illicit, and the sensual. It is all too easy to feed (knowingly or unwittingly) those sides of our mind. Then we wonder why we can’t hear God speaking or see God moving as clearly as we once did. We have poisoned our minds with worldly content and deadened the spirit Sensitive side.

Scripture is replete with admonitions to discipline our minds, to nourish the Spirit and to encourage God’s work. Paul gives this challenge, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things…” (Philippians 4.8 NRSV) The apostle is reminding us of how important a thing it is to train our minds, to discipline our thoughts to produce goodness, love, and the personality of Christ.

So, perhaps we should go into training together?

Anyway, just my meanderings,

A Pastor in Camo

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