Human nature is predisposed to selfishness from a young age. A word common to every toddler the world over is, “Mine!” Toddlers know how to say “mine,” but disciples of Jesus must learn to say, “Thy will be done.” If we are to grow as followers of Jesus, we must embrace discipline.
The apostle Paul was a disciple and a disciplined Christian. He governed his body saying, “I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27, ESV). Discipline of the body leads to discipline in other areas in our lives.
Paul lived a disciplined life. He disciplined himself to scorn, saying that he had become a fool for Christ’s sake (1 Corinthians 4:10). He disciplined himself to suffering, saying, “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8–9, NKJV). Paul never stopped advancing the Gospel because he had decided to keep going no matter what.
In the end, he disciplined himself to the knowledge that he would die for Christ’s sake. “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:6–7, NKJV). Paul was ready to face death because he had given his life to do the will of the Master.
You can live a disciplined life as well. You can be a Holy Spirit-anointed, dedicated, in-season, and out-of-season Christian. You can deny yourself and fast and pray. You can go to church even if it rains. You can study the Word of God. If you do, you’ll find that it's still alive, it’s still the bread of life, it’s still living water, and it’s still the compass for your soul.
You have what it takes to become a disciplined follower of Jesus Christ. You don’t have to be controlled by
the world, the flesh, and the devil. You don’t have to be controlled by emotions or feelings that come and go and drag you by the nose down the road of life. That does not fit you. You do not have to be tossed to and fro on the waves of life because you are a Blood-bought, redeemed child of God.
The first step toward living the disciplined life of a believer is to fully commit yourself to absolute reliance on Jesus Christ as Savior, Lord, and King over your life. It is deciding that you will seek God above all else. It
is rejecting the trappings, cares, and glitter of life and instead fixing your eyes on God Most High. Jesus demands full devotion. The call to follow Christ encompasses all.
You cannot dabble in the affairs of the world and pledge allegiance to Jesus as Lord of your life. Following yourself won’t get you anywhere, but following Jesus will lead you to life. In the world we will have trial, tribulation, and trouble, but Jesus said, “He who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13, NKJV).
TO ENDURE TO THE END MEANS THAT NO MATTER WHAT THE WORLD MAY THROW AT YOU, AND NO MATTER WHAT MAY COME, AS FOR YOU, YOU ARE COMMITTED, DEDICATED, AND FAITHFUL TO FOLLOW JESUS CHRIST FOREVERMORE.