The Discipline In Discipleship

Did you know that to be a disciple literally means to be disciplined? A disciple means a disciplined or trained one, and to be trained means to do something that isn’t natural or easy. Passion is natural, but faithfulness is not. Fun, enjoyment and entertainment are things that come easy to us, but doing something that is hard is not. Anything that requires pain, sacrifice or repetitive persistence is easily dismissed by our flesh and replaced by excuses and justification for doing what’s easier.

When I was learning piano, I had to play some really difficult pieces, and when I first attempted them, they sounded horrible! They were so hard that after I started, I wanted to give up and say, “forget it.” My initial passion flew out the window at the point at which playing no longer came naturally, and I think I would have given up completely but for a small voice inside that urged me to keep trying — that’s where discipline was required. No matter how awful it sounded, I went back to that music again and again until I had the music mastered. It wasn’t natural, but it was worth it! Once I had the music nailed, my passion returned, but it was rebirthed in a totally different fashion. You see, for me, true passion was knowing the music perfectly and not having to look at sheet music anymore; being able to play them from my heart, knowing that I had conquered them. But discipline was the cost required to experience that kind of passion.

You see, friend, real passion is a synthesis (combining a number of different parts or ideas to come up with a new idea) of your natural desires and skills and abilities, but it’s also the fruit of persistence and grit; only when you’ve worked through the hard bit can you play its song by heart. There is a journey required to fulfill every calling and there’s a price to be paid for becoming the person God wants you to be. However, as you walk hand-in-hand with Jesus, He takes the natural and makes it supernatural, picking up the slack for you and depositing His strength that does whatever you can’t. Isn’t that incredible news?

In what areas of your life have you broken through to a place of true passion following a period of intense training and discipline? How does it feel?

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