Friday, July 6, 2007

G.O. on discipline

I just finished having breakfast with Gary O'Sullivan at Southern Thymes. Gary is a great friend and encourager to me. Gary has the opportunity to impact people all across the country through his consulting and coaching business. He speaks to business leaders from all over about key leadership issues.

One key to spiritual growth is the dreaded concept of discipline. We all need it whether we like it or not. (I will be doing a message on this uncomfortable topic in August) Gary has developed a great definition of discipline that he uses with the people he coaches. Gary says, "Discipline is doing the things you need to do, when you need to do them, the way they need to be done, whether you want to or not." I have that definition on my office wall right above my computer so I see it often. I think the last part of it is what keeps so many of us in the undisciplined camp. That part that says, "whether we want to or not" is really the key for me. On just about any task that needs to be done I can find something else I'd rather do instead.

So much of following Christ comes down to doing what we already know we are to do, even when it is hard to do it. I love the story in Luke 5 about Peter fishing. He had fished all night long and hadn't caught the first fish. Jesus comes along on the shore and tells him to throw the nets out on the other side of the boat. Now that was a crazy idea. Naturally the boat floats on top of the water, so any fish that are on one side of the boat could swim under the boat to get to the other side right? So what difference does it make which side of the boat the net gets dropped from? I believe Peter was thinking the same thing, but his response to Jesus is my favorite part of the story. In verse 5 he says,"Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But, because you say so, I will let down the nets." Of course when he does they catch more fish than they had ever imagined could fit in their nets!

The part of Peter's response that I think is important as it relates to discipline is when he says, "because you say so". I believe there are times in our life that we just feel stuck spiritually and don't know where to go or what to do next. It's during those times that we have to say, "I will do what God's already told me to do." Because He says so, I will read His word, because He says so, I will talk to Him, because He says so, I will treat others with love, even though I might not feel like it. That type of true spiritual discipline can be a challenge, but I believe it is what we need.

Have a great weekend! I can't wait to see ya'll on Sunday. Remeber to bring a friend with you

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