Retreat Leftovers – Importance of Discipline

One of the breakout sessions for the students was how God brings about spiritual change in our lives. I started the session off by asking the students to list what they dream/desire of becoming when they grow up. You would be amazed at some of the dreams these students have (more on that in another post). Then I asked them to list what steps they were planning to help them achieve that dream. This second question is a little bit harder to think about and some of the students had a difficult time explaining the pathway to help them become the person they dream of becoming. As parents, youth leaders and student ministries we need to help equip students to be able to answer this second question. Then we discussed the role discipline plays in fulfilling our dreams and bringing about the needed changes in our life; especially for who God is making us to become.

In all, we realized, the person we desire to be and the influence we dream of having stems from one word – discipline. Desires and dreams are simply not enough to cause movement or change in an individual’s life. Discipline nudges the person toward action and following through. It puts feet to faith. The fact of the matter is we need all three.

Read how one popular person describes the slow process of discipline and spiritual change:
Your nature is a hard thing to change; it takes time… I have heard of people having life-changing, miraculous turnarounds, people set free from addiction after a single prayer, relationships saved where both parties ‘let go, and let God.’ But it was not like that for me. For all that ‘I was lost, I am found,’ it is probably more accurate to say, ‘I was really lost. I’m a little less so at the moment.’ And then a little less and a little less again. That to me is the spiritual life. The slow reworking and rebooting of a computer at regular intervals, reading the small print of the service manual. It has slowly rebuilt me in a better image. It has taken years, though, and it is not over yet.”[1]

Discipline is that slow process God uses to shape and craft us into our created purpose. Its importance cannot be overlooked if you want to mature spiritually. Our student ministry is working on doing a better job at equipping students with these tools for spiritual disciplines. I can’t wait to see all these dreams come true!

[1] Cited in The Beautiful Fight by Gary Thomas, 7. Quote from Lead singer Bono, U2 by U2, 2006.

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