As a young man I was told repeatedly the mark of a mature Christian was how disciplined he was.  Those disciplines included – getting up early to have a quiet time, reading a chapter in the Bible and praying.  It continued with active involvement in a church body, small group, men’s group and regular accountability, fasting and tithing.  Along the way I discovered it was also an important discipline to be actively involved in discipleship, having an older man working investing in me, which I in turn disciple younger men.  All of these disciplines are something I agree with and thing should be part of every man’s walk.

 

I have put into practice in not all but most of these in my life ongoing.  It has changed and morphed over the years.  The biggest challenge for me has been in my kids getting older and having to work around everyone’s schedule.   It’s definitely not a bad things, but going from being single to married and then with kids, you begin having other people vying for your attention and it does make it tricky to fit all of it in.

 

One thing I have always found helpful to do is sit down and map out my time in a given week.  Looking at making all these disciplines a part of my daily and weekly life. I want to see where I my time is being spent and is there an area that needs adjusting or changing so that I can get the most out of each day and the most out of my relationships, not with just family and friends, but with Jesus as well.

 

If you are really honest about your time you often see patterns that you won’t really like.  It will provide you with a true sense of what is most important in your life.  Which reminds me of the saying – we invest the majority of our time and energy into the things we enjoy.

 

Getting real means also admitting sometimes those disciplines are not enjoyable and are a struggle for us to practice. It has been said that it takes at least 21 – 66 days to for a habit.  What that means is that in order for it to be something we do consistently, we must either daily or on a very regular basis put it into practice.  It also means to be realistic, don’t try to implement these disciplines at the same time.  Begin with one or two and work your way up.

 

While I am not always good at practicing all of them, I do see value in each and every one and want to make sure they are ongoing and continual practices.

 

What about you, are there other disciplines you have put into practice?  Have you evaluated your time recently?  What areas can change or be adjusted? 

 

Comments
  1. Bob Balkcom says:

    We are talking with the kids in our youth group about this very thing now. As usual, it challenges the adult counselors too.

    After a few years of crashing and burning in regular bible reading I finally was able to make it a habit this past year and read the bible through. I had to face the stuff in me that had kept me from doing it in the past – all self-expectations that, when I look back, were really designed to help me fail. I decided this past year to just read it. Very simple. Just read it. I got caught up a few times either in wanting to dig in or in being confused but saw it for what it was – I pressed on. Somewhere in that 21-66 day window it truly became enjoyable. I looked forward to my time in the Word daily. Sure, there were days I missed but I purposed to not get too far off and to catch up when I did. It was a small personal accomplishment when, on Dec 31, 2011, I read the last chapters of Revelations.

    This year, of course, it’s a bit easier and exciting as I’m adding more study to my reading. I chose the chronological bible to help me with the history/timing part of my study. So far it’s been very good.

    God has spoken to me in my reading. I know He has a lot more to say. That discipline will be used by Him in His plan for me.
    Thank you for posting on this topic!

    • Bob I really appreciate your honest and transparency in this. I think that speaks volumes about who you are as a man and your desire to grow in him. Thank you!

  2. Kevin says:

    I read the book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life and I realized I was not doing these. However I also was not taught too much about this throughout my Christian walk. I know they were all probably mentioned but unless you address them as disciplines you just here: say your prayers, read the Bible, give your tithes etc… It wasn’t until I was challenged to look deeper into them I realized how little I did know and the importance of them. It is still a struggle and I realize the that it is also a challenge for me to implement them in my life. I like that you said work your way up and I will try to do that, but when I first started reading the book I was troubled by this and the lack of them in my life.

    • Hey Kevin I haven’t heard of that book, but I will check it out. When I was younger I tried to do everything all at once and felt horrible when I didn’t follow through with all of it. I have learned over time to take smaller steps and make realistic goals to approach it. In doing so I have had a lot more success.

  3. Pete Jones says:

    I found that true to His promises, consistent reading of the Word is the key to all other disciplines in the Christian life. It is paramount. If you can’t timetable it, at least do it every day. It’s not magic, it just conforms to God’s will and things will flow from it. You will want to read more. And while reading you will break off into spontaneous prayer and holy reflection as things jump out at you or as you are inspired. Believe me it does work. We will fall, we will miss times we should spend with the Lord but keep confessing these faults and march on. They will lessen. Attend group study at church etc. You may not get through the Bible ‘in a year’ but you will run to it when you get more familiar with it, and just getting through it bit by bit is a discipline in itself.

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