A sweet blogger commented on my recent post about my One Word for 2014, Discipline. She observed that her word, freedom, is the complete opposite of my word, discipline.
I agreed at first sight. But then I mulled over that concept for the next week. Are they really opposite? Or is it possible that the two ideas go hand in hand.
Being disciplined with housework means means less mess and chaos and a more peaceful home.
Discipline with counting calories brings weight loss.
Discipline with sleep habits makes for well-rested moms and more patience with the kids.
Discipline brings freedom.
A song comes on my Pandora station all the time when the kids and I are cleaning up and doing things around the house. It’s called Dawn to Dusk, by All Sons and Daughters. In the song, they sing about the battle against sin on a day to day basis and how God frees us from sin. My favorite line says
“Tomorrow’s freedom is today’s surrender. We come before you lay our burdens down.”
Jesus says that everyone who sins is a slave to sin (John 8:34-36)
If I want to be free from sin tomorrow, I have to surrender today. Surrender the sin, surrender my life. Surrender. Give up. I have to give up something. Deny myself.
These aren’t fun things.
I don’t want to deny myself anything. In some ways, I think modern adulthood looks like giving yourself anything in the world you’ve ever wanted. I look around at other 30-somethings and wonder what’s happening. It’s like we’ve extended adolescence. We want the vacations we want, the wardrobes, the large homes, without saving and without sacrificing. It’s called credit, baby. But disciplined saving can actually give us the true financial freedom we want…freedom from debt, freedom to have mom stay at home if she wants, and freedom to be generous towards others. It’s worth it in the end, even if the short term view isn’t much fun.
Similarly, I don’t want to deny myself an extra hour of sleep, but I know that if I want to be free to have more energy for my kids and lose weight, then I’ll have to get up early and go running.
And I don’t like cleaning toilets, but I really don’t like a disgusting bathroom, so the toilets get cleaned here. I want to be free from filth, so I keep my house clean.
Disciplined time with the Lord means we can growing in our walks with God, grow in our marriages. We can be free from false doctrine, since our minds are rooted in the truth. Years ago, I decided that I wanted to be transformed by the renewing of my mind, and that’s what God did over the course of many many years of faithful and consistent time with Him.
Discipline rooted my heart in the Word of God. I do well in this area of self-discipline, yet I’m sorely lacking in others.
But tomorrow’s freedom is today’s surrender. <-Tweet this!
So I surrender the things I struggle with today and ask God to give me the power of self-discipline. And you know, that’s really the good news here–God gives us a spirit of self-control. We can’t do that on our own. Check out Galatians 3:3:
Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
This is another concept I’ve been mulling over as I’ve thought about growing in discipline this year. Working at discipline leaves me exhausted and falling short. But trusting God to give me the power to obey His word as I serve my family enables me to know when to rest and when to keep going. He gives me patience when I should have none.
Working at discipline in the flesh looks far different than trusting the Holy Spirit to bring us self-control. That’s why I’ll say over and over again that the only thing that’s good in me is Jesus. The only thing that is disciplined in me comes through the power of God, from His spirit that dwells in Me. And the only one who gives freedom from sin is Christ.