A couple of days ago I was listening to a radio interview of a former Navy Seal. One of the questions they asked him was, “As you reflect on all that you have experienced and learned in life, what do you tell people to make sure they do?”
I thought that was a profound question. His answer was even more profound. He said that everyone had two choices in life. Either you choose the discipline to have the kind of life you want, or you will have regret when you look back on your life and see what could have been. As a result, everyone chooses discipline or regret whether they realize it or not.
His comment led my mind to 1 Cor. 9:24-27 where Paul says,
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
Paul used athletic metaphors to communicate the discipline required if an athlete wants to win his event. Just as an athlete goes through physical training that is sometimes uncomfortable to attain the goal of victory, so must we as disciples of Jesus endure physical and emotional hardship if necessary to live the life he expects of us. The primary sacrifice I must make is my self-will. I must choose to live his way and not mine, and I must do that daily.
Father, thank you for the reminder of the importance of discipline. I cannot change myself, but I can show up each day in the arena of life ready for you can change me. Help me to choose the discipline required to make the choices you want me to make and to live the way you desire me to so that I can be an asset to the expansion of your Kingdom.
Following Jesus with you,