DISCIPLINE by walterp
February 7, 2007, 2:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

OK. I’m back. I know no one was asking, but I felt it right to inform everyone. My three marriage/honeymoon escapade is over! Actually, it seems I missed all the blog action while I was gone. Kevin seems to be a popular yet hated non-complementarian jerk. Way to go man!


Anywho, discipline is one of the most essential qualities of a leader. I mean what is a leader if he is not disciplined. He is no leader at all. If a man cannot discipline himself and his passions, he cannot lead anyone well. The problem is I am the most undisciplined person I know. Recently, it seems all the areas I was somewhat disciplined have been lost in these first weeks of marriage. So I am right here with you guys. I am still trying to get up early, to read my Bible, to love my wife, to plan my time, to work out, etc.

Why do we need discipline?

1. Discipline cultivates and perfects our gifts.
Being disciplined allows us to develop our gifts. On the contrary, being undisciplined leaves gifts undeveloped and ungrown.

Oswald Sanders has said:

“What raised these men [leaders] above their fellows was the degree to which they developed those gifts through devotion and discipline.” He continues, “Without this essential quality, all other gifts remain as dwarfs: they cannot grow. … Before we can conquer the world, we must first conquer the self.”

Why can’t they grow? Because without discipline, there will be no practice, no routine, to habit, no learning, no improvement.

For instance, in the life of Bob Kauflin, he stands as an example of a man whose discipline musically has paid off significantly. Bob received a performance degree in piano and practiced 4 or more hours a day during college. Now that is discipline. Now he is able to do practically anything on the piano and to serve very effectively through the piano. Without those years of practice, Bob would not be as effective today. (And yes…I just gave a shout-out to my man crush!)

2. Discipline makes us more like the Savior.
While he was on earth, the Bible says Jesus learned obedience (Heb 5:8) and was obedient with his life (Phil 2:8). Though he was the Author of Creation and purpose for which all things existed, he entered humanity and was obedient to God in every way. This radical obedience meant that he lived his life for one purpose – to obey his father. His entire life was spent on this mission. This meant there was no time to spend coaxing his comfort and ease, no time chasing the fads of the world. His life was entirely missional.

Just as his life was this way, as we discipline ourselves and yield our lives up to God, we become like our example. As we become more focused on the mission of Christ and less focused on our hairdo, our lives will make much of him because they will look more like him.

Now, you may be thinking, “Walt, this is bunk. He is the Savior. He is God. And I am just __________.” Yes, you are right. You are impressive (and neither am I).

Nevertheless, though your discipline will never compare to the Savior’s in degree, it can reflect his displine in nature. You can put things to death. You can control your passions. You can get up earlier. You can read longer. You can pray longer. And you can do all this through the strength of Christ alone (Phil 4:13).

Here is a picture of a disciplined young man from Oswald Sanders:

“The young man of leadership caliber will work while others waste time, study while others snooze, pray while others daydream. Slothful habits are overcome, whether in thought, deed, or dress. The emerging leader eats right, stands, tall, and prepares himself to wage a good warfare. He will without reluctance undertake the unpleasant task others avoid or the hidden duty that others evade because it wins no public applause. As the Spirit fill his life, he learns not to shrink from difficult situations or retreat from hard-edged people. He will kindly and courageously administer rebuke when that is called for, or he will exercise the necessary discipline when the interests of the Lord’s work demand it. He will not procastinate, but will prefer to dispatch with the hardest tasks first” (53).

By Walt Alexander


3 Comments so far
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Good thoughts, Walt. You’ve spurred me on to get out of the bed tomorrow morning.

Although, I was a bit alarmed to hear of your three marriage escapade! I thought we were monogamous around here.

Comment by casey

Great post Walt!

On the lines of application of this post, I am very tempted towards legalism when dealing with the topic of discipline. So I would like to ask a few questions so that we can watch out for a major pitfall in our quest for godliness: legalism.

More specifically:

1) What is legalism?
2) How does legalism debase the gospel?
3) How can we, as Christians, be sensitive to this sin and what does it look like it to deal with it appropriately?

Comment by jkelfer

Just to be transparent: Walt slept in this morning and missed our VFC intern meeting. So, Casey, when you say: “You’ve spurred me on to get out of the bed tomorrow morning,” we are glad Walt motivated you, while not getting out of bed himself. We love you Walt.

Comment by bigplew

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