There is not a whole lot in this life that can be accomplished without discipline. It takes discipline to get up in the morning on time for school or work. It takes discipline to eat healthy meals. It takes discipline to train for a sports team. It even takes discipline to schedule regular rest into a life full of activity and responsibility. Why, then, when we will make the effort to train ourselves for all sorts of daily chores and activities, do we often neglect the most important training of all?
There are a number of spiritual disciplines that God can use in a believer’s life to bring about growth. Though these practices are not difficult, they require consistency and a willingness to submit to God’s work in our life. Richard J. Foster, in his book, The Celebration of Discipline, states, “God has given us the Disciplines of the spiritual life as a means of receiving His grace. The Disciplines allow us to place ourselves before God so that He can transform us.”
Reading God’s word studiously, praying diligently, and fasting or giving up something to focus more on God are only a few practices that will put a person in a position where God can do His transforming work. None of these can be accomplished without personal discipline, but those who make these things a priority will begin to be trained in godliness.
If you think that you can attain God’s best for you by showing up to church once in a while, then you have been mislead. Just as the game of volleyball takes training and practice, so a growing Christian requires discipline for godliness – and the result of this eternal goal will be blessing in this life and the life to come.