Discipline. It is not a word that falls easily unto the ears of our current cultural climate. It is as if we truly believe Jeep’s slogan, “live without limits”. Just imagine a life without limits. Imagine wearing the Jeep T-shirt with the slogan on it and driving the Jeep at 180km in a 60km zone. Imagine sleeping with another woman or man, with that same T-shirt on. Or eating copious amounts of food … with that T-shirt on. You will definitely need a bigger shirt without limits. And a new car.
We need limits. Discipline is important. Without discipline there is no freedom. Imagine going to a friend’s piano recital. She has been practicing the piano for the last five years. Four to six hours a day. She is free to play the piano because of the limits she placed on herself. Discipline led her to freedom. Now imagine sitting in the hall waiting for her to come and play. The board examining her calls you up and asks you to play – to “live without limits” – “feel free to play what you want”. I know that after I exercised my “freedom without limits” a good exorcist will have to be called in. The people listening won’t be free either.
When Paul encourages the young Timothy in his life of freedom he challenges him to , “train for godliness”. He tells him to stay away from silly myths and exercise towards becoming like Jesus. Becoming like Jesus won’t come through a philosophy of “living without limits”. It comes through a captivation of the person of Jesus – a vision. Then comes a choice to follow Him which conversely means choosing against some other things. After that comes a life of training or discipline – the means that place me into a movement-kind-of-life that takes believing into the daily rhythms of life. Then we will discover that by limiting or disciplining ourselves we become disciples. Free because freedom is a person. Jesus.