Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Got Discipline?

Keeping in mind the writing “Got Passion?", and the quote just following this posting, I thought I could use a bit of a review on what the Bible has to say about being disciplined.

1 Timothy 4:7-8
“...discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

The use of the word discipline in this verse--gumnazo--primarily signifies “to exercise naked” from the word gumnos which means “naked”. (As little as I enjoy exercising, the idea of doing so naked is all the more repugnant! :) It generally means “to exercise, to train the body or mind”. Paul is contrasting here the positive effects of exercise for the purpose of physical health to discipline as a means of advancing in holiness of life. Where physical health is limited in its benefits, godliness is profitable for all things. Godliness here means “reverence, respect, piety toward God”. According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, piety refers to “reverence of the Supreme Being and love of His character; piety in practice is the exercise of these affections in obedience to His will and devotion to His service”. Ahhh...so piety looks like something I can truly grab hold of and be passionate about, doesn’t it!

Along with some of those passions we looked at earlier in 1 Timothy 4:12b-15 (Got Passion? posting), it looks like we should be passionate about being godly. We see some examples of a godly women in 1 Timoth 5:9b, 10 “...the wife of one man, having a reputation for good works; if she has brought up children, shown hospitality to strangers, washed the saints feet, assisted those in distress and devoted herself to every good work.” Another good passage on godliness is 1 Timothy 6:6-11. But let’s stay focused on discipline for right now...

1 Corinthians 9:24-27
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.”

The meaning for the word discipline in this usage is extremely interesting. It is the word hupopiazo and literally means “to strike under the eye”. It is used metaphorically “to give a black eye” and is also translated in this verse as “buffet”, “bruise” and “keep under”. Vine’s dictionary goes on to speak of “Paul’s suppressive treatment of his body, in order to keep himself spiritually fit.”

While I don’t “preach to others” I do “teach others”...specifically those little “others” in my household. They notice when Mama walks disciplined in her passions or in godliness and they notice when Mama does not. When I teach them to “not be easily bothered” but respond that exact way when an act of childishness disrupts my day, my teaching is “disqualified”. So, too, in many other areas of self-control. Now no one is perfect, nor will we ever be. That is all the more reason to work with ourselves on being disciplined. We can’t do it in and of ourselves. We need God’s grace and His strength to accomplish something of this importance!

Just another area in which we should “not grow weary in doing good” for “what we sow we shall surely reap”. If we consistently sow discipline and self control in our lives, we will reap the benefit of godliness and passions will be realized!

So, again, our question....Got Discipline? If we do, our “prize” is the “imperishable” crown and eternity in heaven with our God and Savior.