We each are allotted a measure of time to enjoy the lives God has given us. It is a stewardship, a trust. For my part, I too often have fallen short on fulfilling my responsibility to steward my resources wisely. Thus enters the principle of the discipline of discipleship. It involves my resolve to engage in self-discipline. I have done this well in certain areas of my life over the years. Up to the age of 28, I was a disciplined athlete. I ran five miles or more daily, plus did 100 pushups and situps, and several minutes of high-speed jump roping everyday. Not to mention my long hours on the basketball court, my time playing hacky-sack, or being involved in other sports pursuits.
Something happened when I decided to pursue higher education. Although I spent years working to discipline my heart and mind to understand Scripture and pursue Christ, I traded in athletic pursuits for the more sedentary work of reading, writing, public speaking, ministry skill development, and networking with like-minded individuals. Not to mention working full-time and pastoring a children’s ministry on the side. My health took a back seat.
According to my physician, the only thing that has served as a safety net for me is the long-term intense exercise I had done as a young person. But those days are long past. My doctor was incredibly encouraging, a rarity in my experience with medical personnel. I am now working toward regaining my footing in the world of athleticism. It is not a new year’s resolution. It isn’t a diet. I am not posting about it on social networks, or giving in to fad eating plans. You could not make me touch tofu with a ten foot poll, unless it is to wipe it from my sight altogether. However, in terms of my physical health, I am becoming my own cause. The proof will be in the results, so I don’t desire or expect any accolades, advice, or periodic scolding for setbacks. I prefer to do it in my own way, returning to the mindset that once allowed me to run 7 miles at a 6 minute per mile pace.
It is the discipline of discipleship. It is a journey back to a lifestyle of athletic discipline I once knew and enjoyed. Does this mean I am not open to learning from others? Of course not. It just will not be the free-for-all Dear Abby mentality commonly seen on social networks. I will discipline myself to listen to the people who can best help me make positive progress.
At this writing, I am nearly 25 lbs lighter. But there is much work to be done. I will now go celebrate by conducting my early morning workout before it is time to prepare to gather for worship with my friends in the city.
What about you? Is there an area in which God is challenging you to exercise self-discipline? What is holding you back? Who is inspiring you?