Adapted from Handbook to Spiritual Growth
DISCIPLINE BRINGS FREEDOM
There is no growth in the Christian life apart from discipline and self-control (“discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;” 1 Timothy 4:7). Spirituality is not instantaneous or haphazard; it is developed and refined.
For many people, the word “discipline” reeks with negative connotations. We often associate it with tyranny, external restraint, legalism, and bondage. But a closer look at Scripture and the lives of the great saints in the history of the faith reveals precisely the opposite. Discipline is the pathway to freedom rather than bondage. The whole book of Proverbs, for instance, argues that far from limiting our freedom, personal disciplines actually enhance it and give us options we could never have had otherwise. Like the children’s story about the impulsive train who wanted to break loose from the rails and go in its own direction, we may not discover the true “freedom of the rails” until we get bogged down in the earth of our own pursuits in disregard of God’s design. God’s desire is that we would engage in disciplines, not as ends in themselves, but as a means to know and obey His Father.