From Discipline to Delight
God designed us for His enjoyment—He enjoys us, and He wants us to enjoy Him. The trouble comes in when we are not enjoying what God enjoys. It is important to remember that in the moments when we do things that God doesn’t enjoy us doing, He does not stop taking delight in us. His love for us is constant and unmovable.
Often times, God will have us do something we don’t enjoy. This takes self-discipline, and that isn’t fun. But self-discipline is part of the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5.
The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
-Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)
Strange that self-discipline is considered a fruit. I mean, discipline seems like work to me. However, I believe than as lovers of Jesus, we can enjoy self-discipline. God wants to bring delight to our discipline.
Delight in Discipline:
1. Put your heart in it.
Contrary to modern philosophy, we should not follow our heart. We should lead it. Some assume God isn’t in what they are doing because their heart isn’t in it. I believe that if God wants us to do something, then we need to figure out how to get our heart in it. We put our heart in the matter by investing time, energy, mental space, emotions, and even money into our project. Sometimes the only way to get your heart there is to dive in with everything else until your heart follows.
2. Establish values.
Normally when we think of discipline, we think of doing something we don’t want to do. Discipline might be defined by doing something I don’t want to do now for what I do want later.
Our purpose in life is not found in doing what we enjoy, but in all we do enjoying God. The greatest value in my life is living a life that honors Jesus. That can only be done by life in Spirit. (Rom 8)
How am I investing in what I value most? What we want later has to become more valuable than what we want now.
We can find joy in whatever we are doing, even if it is something we may not enjoy now, because we are enjoying Jesus in the process. This is one of the ways we walk in the spirit!
"Our purpose in life is not found in doing
what we enjoy but in all we do enjoying God."
3. Develop vision.
Don’t just have a vision for your life and future, have a vision for what is in your hand right now! Where there is no vision the people perish (Prov 29:18), having vision in the areas of your life that you do not enjoy so much will actually add life to the mundane. If it’s a job you hate, don’t just punch the clock, develop some vision, set some goals, and as you start to see success in that area it will bring enjoyment!
I need to lose 15-20lbs. That is a goal, not a vision. My vision is to look better for my wife and to be healthy for the rest of my life. Therefore, my goal is to lose the weight. Often times, I don’t like going to the gym, however, I still go and rarely skip. Once I’m at the gym, I kind of like it. I didn’t at first, but because I have done it for almost two years, devoted myself to the process, and have a vision it adds a since of enjoyment to the process.