I was given the following devotional reading by a friend on Saturday – I don’t know where it came from but thought it was really good, so reproduce it here:
“Discipline is the other side of discipleship. Discipleship without discipline is like wanting to run in the marathon without ever practicing. Discipline without discipleship is like always practicing for the marathon but never participating. It is important, however, to realise that discipline in the spiritual life is not the same as discipline in sports. Discipline in sports is the concentrated effort to master the body so that it can obey the mind better. Discipline in the spiritual life is the concentrated effort to create the space and time where God can become our master and where we can respond freely to God’s guidance. Thus, discipline is the creation of boundaries that keep time and space open for God. Solitude requires discipline, worship requires requires discipline, caring for others requires discipline. They all ask us to se apart a time and a place where God’s gracious presence can be acknowledged and responded to”.
However, I’m not sure that I totally agree that discipline in the spiritual life is totally different from discipline in sports. Separating the physical from the spiritual is ultimately looking at life from a Hellenistic rather than a Biblical world view. I think the Biblical, or Hebraic, world view would be more ‘wholistic’, realising that the physical and spiritual are connected – that one affects the other, that they are inescapably interlaced together. Physical discipline does affect our spiritual experience, and spiritual disciple cannot escape the physical dimension – to make space and time for God to become our master involves our physical as well as spiritual separation to a place where we can hear and commune with Him. Physical discipline and spiritual discipline are two sides of the same coin – connected at our heart, the home of our will and consciousness.
Do you agree? Any thoughts on the matter?