Discipline is Freedom
“The purpose of the Disciplines is freedom. Our aim is the freedom, not the Discipline. The moment we make the Discipline our central focus, we turn it into law and lose the corresponding freedom.” (Foster, Celebration of Discipline, Chapter 8)
I have been meeting regularly with a group of close friends for almost two years. We were all part of a Christian service fraternity at the University of Cincinnati and wanted to find a way to redevelop the relationships we had built during college. Our time together has been spent studying different books of the Bible and other spiritual literature. Most recently we are going through the book, Celebration of Discipline, quoted at the beginning of this blog.
Many may recognize the book from past studies as it has now been published for over 40 years. Yet, I find that it is just as applicable today as it was in 1978. Having discipline in our lives is paramount to developing a relationship with God. As physical beings, we find it hard to justify spending time in prayer to a spiritual being. God is very real, but our human nature draws us away to “real”, tangible, physical things instead of spiritual things.
Studying and discussing this book has made me realize that the very act of setting aside time every Monday night to meet with fellow Christians is a discipline that I crave, and one that God wants me to pursue. Just like ensuring that my family puts priority on being at church every Sunday, this is another habit that I crave. Finding the time to study alone and with other believers has forced me to discipline myself into finding more time for prayer, discover the power in fasting, and that meditation is more than sitting and saying “ohmmm”.
As I find myself disciplining more aspects of my life, complications in life seem easier to solve, raising my children is a joy, and work is fulfilling. Discipline truly does free us to draw near to God and find life fulfilling.