Early in my faith walk, I thought I knew everything about DISCIPLINE. I played football in college. I built a successful career as a corporate CEO. And I spoke about strategic discipline to marketplace companies around the world. I was disciplined.
It’s no surprise that I took that discipline into everything I did—including my faith walk with Jesus. But that discipline was all about DOING things. I had taken my worldly view and practice of discipline into my faith walk by focusing on spiritual growth as a series of transactions (DOING)—praying, reading the Bible, tithing, fellowshipping with believers, and serving others through ministry.
We need to be extra careful here because discipline is at the heart of spiritual maturity. After all, the root of the word DISCIPLE is discipline. Mature believers are called disciples and Christians cannot be disciples without being disciplined.
The more spiritual discipline we develop, the more God will be present in our life and the more others will see evidence of that indwelling. But back then as a new believer I had missed it by a mile. In all my DOING, I had left out the most important part of walking with Christ—BEING. If we allow our spiritual discipline to produce intimacy with God, he will bring our faith’s footprint into conformity with his will.
Spiritual discipline is the action (DOING) which molds us into the character of Christ (the BEING) that Timothy described as GODLINESS.
“Take the time and the trouble to keep yourself spiritually fit.” 1 Timothy 4:7
Spiritual discipline is the means to Godliness, not the end. A person is not automatically Godly just because he or she practices the spiritual disciplines (God’s Word, praying, tithing, and fellowship).
I ended up teaching the Spiritual Maturity Class 201 at Saddleback Church in Southern California—something I have been doing every month for over 20 years. My life has been transformed beyond anything I could have ever imagined by committing to spiritual discipline. But it was not easy and not automatic. It required a dramatic shift in my approach from DOING to BEING.
I ask God to remind me every day that spiritual maturity is being like Christ! That it is not automatic. And that it is a life-long process that takes a deep commitment to being disciplined that goes beyond DOING and focuses on BEING in Christ.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Do you need to flip your spiritual switch from DOING to BEING?
“If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23