Dependent Discipline…these two words have been on my mind and in my prayers these last couple of weeks. They remind me of Colossians 1:29 “For this I toil, struggling with all His energy that He powerfully works in me.” Within that verse hangs the balance of the Christian life…living a life of discipline while living it completely dependent on the Lord. As Paul says in Acts 17:28 “In Him we live and move and have our being” and Jesus says in John 15:5, “Apart from me you can do nothing”.
Dependent Discipline…these two little words cannot be confused with “daily discipline”. I love structure and I love the pursuit of daily discipline. I’m a big fan of lists, of order and of routine. These have all been helpful in getting our family of eight through the days, weeks, and months with food on the table, clean clothes in the closet, and not living in an all around pig sty. Yet, I am realizing that this is often where I stop…at daily discipline and not dependent discipline. Having “figured it all out”, planned as much as possible, and crossed all the “t’s” and dotted all the “i’s”, my heart swells and I feel pretty great about myself! That is, until the rubber hits the road and all does not go as planned: I’m missing a key ingredient to the meal that I am in the middle of making (in spite of all my planning), a “to-do” takes longer than I thought and leaves me short on time, one of the kids forgets to tell me about a ride they need and I’m scrambling to rearrange my schedule. And, in this new season of life, I feel like working full time has magnified even the smallest of “changes” and “detours”. Then, when my “disciplined day” falls apart, so goes my attitude with it! In moments like this (and they happen more often than I want to admit), I forget that my discipline must have one common thread…it must be FULLY dependent on Jesus Christ! I must live every breath in recognition of my weakness and God’s power that is perfected in weakness. My moments must be filled with an understanding of my inability and God’s perfect capability. My days must be walked remembering that my ways and thoughts are often shortsighted and selfish, and God’s perfect ways and thoughts are so much higher than mine…and it is His beautiful purposes that WILL prevail!!! Discipline alone does not bring glory to my Heavenly Father unless it is dependent on Him!
Dependent Discipline…these two words bring a truth that is truly freeing to all of our hearts! Our days rarely go as we plan, but when our hearts are dependent on the Lord, our joy stays! When our eyes are fixed on Him, though we keep “toiling”, we have sweet hope knowing that it is HIS energy that keeps us pressing on and He is faithful to complete the work that He has begun in our lives (Phil. 1:6)! His power raised His Son, Jesus Christ, from the dead….and that same power is at work in us! Just think about that truth for a minute!
Dependent Discipline…these two little words can make all the difference in the world! May we be those who don’t pursue discipline as an end in itself, but seek to be fully dependent on the Lord so that He might be exalted and praised each and every day of our lives!