Just a Fancy 4-Letter Word

ImageI have kids that can talk and that means one thing.  We are constantly monitoring and correcting language.  Most if it revolves around toilet humor with our kids.  We have not yet had to deal with the 4-Letter words…but I am sure it won’t be long.

“4-Letter Words” has taken on a life of its own over the years.  In fact…in order to qualify for that category you don’t have have to be a word that consists of only 4 letters.  You can be a 3 letter word or a five letter word…or even 6 letters.  The only real qualifier is that you are a “bad” word.  Something that you just simply should not say.  I think we all have different “4-Letter Word” lists.  I would like to submit one more:  Discipline.

I know myself quite well (we are together all the time) and I have taken enough assessments (just in case I was lying to myself) to know that I am not the type of person that does discipline well.  Typically, when someone says, “Hey, let’s start a new discipline of……”, I begin to run the other way.  There is something about being tied down to a discipline that makes me squirm a little.  This probably sheds some light on why I have not been very consistent blogging during this season of Lent.

Someone once described Lent in this way:

Lent is a time when we concentrate our self-discipline, when we do more serious combat with our inner most passions, with those things in our lives which separate us from Christ. If we have struggled to change these things in our ordinary lives, we should struggle more intensely during Lent. 

Between now and Easter our focus is supposed to be more on self-discipline than it has been over the past 11 months.  While my natural tendency is to consider discipline a “bad” word, when we take the time to truly understand self-discipline we begin to realize that maybe it isn’t such bad word.  Here is how self-discipline is defined:

The ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.

Control my feelings?  Overcome my weaknesses?  Pursue what is right?  Those all sound good.  They sound much better than any 4-letter word that I know of.  You see, discipline (self-discipline) is not about rules and regulations.  It is not about depriving yourself of something or forcing yourself to do things that you hate.  Self-discipline is about being made better.  Controlling your feelings, overcoming your weaknesses, and pursuing what is right.  

Here is the kicker.  Even though I tend to run from the whole idea of discipline…it works.  It really does work.  All the times I have actually stuck with my efforts toward self-discipline, God has showed up in powerful ways.  The author of Hebrews knew this much better than I ever have.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.  -Hebrews 12:11

The disciplines you have picked up during Lent this year may be a pain in the (insert 4-letter word here), but in the end they will change your life.  God works…and He works through your self-discipline.

How is self-discipline transforming your life?

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