During This Lent Season, Consider 40 Days of Discipline and Discipleship


When we first hear the word discipline it does not ordinarily bring to mind thoughts of joyful anticipation. When we think of discipline we don’t think of luxuriating in a warm bubble bath by candlelight to soft music. We think instead about being sent to our rooms or losing privileges. We tend to think of discipline as punishment. But what if we took a moment today to think about discipline with an eye toward discipleship?

Discipline is what makes, and marks, disciples 

It’s not difficult for us to see that the two words are derived from the same root: mathaytais. It implies the existence of a personal relationship which shapes the entire life of the one described as a disciple. It is a term which leaves no doubt about the Master nor who has formative and transformative power in the relationship. Disciples joyfully submit in cooperation with the Master to discipline their lives according to his will, conforming their thoughts and actions according to his ways.

If we claim to be the disciples of Jesus Christ we must submit to his discipline in our lives. We must submit our will to His will, come under his tutelage, becoming like Him. That is what discipline means: the submission of one will to another. Disciplined discipleship is the moment-by-moment cooperation with the Holy Spirit working in the life of a believer, bringing them into every greater conformity to Christ,  under His authority, according to God’s ordering authority.

Exemplars of discipline

Think about the military… Why are elite military units so successful? First, they submit without hesitation and do not question the one in authority over them. And, secondly, they have disciplined themselves to make due with that which is available and work together as parts of a well-oiled machine to accomplish the mission without regard to personal sacrifice.  They’re individual gifts are honed to the very highest quality, their bodies are strong, their minds are one, and when they set their collective course of action they do not come home until the mission is accomplished – leaving no member behind.

What if the disciples of Jesus Christ were to become as disciplined as an elite military unit? What if individual disciples submitted to the One in authority and to the authority of the Church and what if the we were each to hone our gifts to the very highest quality, offer our bodies as living sacrifices holy and acceptable to God, develop one mind – the mind of Christ – and set our collective course of action on the mission of Christ? And what if we didn’t come home until the mission was accomplished? How might the world be different if the disciples of Jesus had that kind of discipline?

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Carmen Fowler LaBerge