Usually when I sin, I realize it’s because I’ve gotten lazy in some aspect of my life. For instance, I’ve not kept up my prayer life or not been as diligent in the Word are the two main causes to most of my disobedience. But it’s not just those two things. Another example concerns how I’m earnestly working on my physical fitness. However, I’ll feel the urge from time-to-time to consume that late night snack. This is bad for several reasons. First, I don’t need the extra calories. Second, if it’s sugary, it keeps me up with a boost of energy I don’t need, meaning my sleep cycle is disrupted and therefore, everything that follows is, too. Third, and finally, since there isn’t much time for the body to work off that snack, it gets converted primarily into fat, which is what I’m striving to reduce. The late night snack, like not spending enough time in prayer or enough time in the Word, is really due a single cause: a lack of discipline.
For your ways are in full view of the LORD,
and he examines all your paths.
The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them;
the cords of their sins hold them fast.
For lack of discipline they will die,
led astray by their own great folly.
– Proverbs 5:21-23, NIV
One of the things my time at The Citadel taught me was the importance of staying disciplined. If being a member of the Corps of Cadets wasn’t enough, being a member of Regimental Band and Pipes (R/BD) was. So much of what we did required discipline. A lot of the times it was hard to be disciplined. You thought about your friends who were at other schools, with their freedoms and without the military style commitments a cadet and specifically a member of R/BD had, and it was easy to want what they had. However, looking back on that time and the experiences I had attending The Citadel, I am extremely thankful for that period of my life. One of the things I am most thankful for is the discipline it taught me that I didn’t have much of before getting there. That discipline has served me well in the years since.
But you don’t have to go to a military college to be disciplined and to understand why discipline is so important. Right here in God’s Word we’re told that lack of discipline is what costs the wicked everything. Lack of discipline leads to their folly. It is the root of evil deeds that ensnare them and sinful cords that hold them tight. When we as Christians are guilty of a lack of discipline, we find ourselves caught up in the same things. Sin ensnares us. It traps us. Continuing to dwell in sin just means that we start to feel the cords more and more. They get tighter and tighter until we can’t get free on our own. It’s like the case of the liar who begins to have to tell lies to cover the initial lie. Then there are more and more lies and sooner or later the liar is going to be caught, because the liar can’t keep up with the lies. Meanwhile, the whole time the liar feels the ever growing struggle and pressure to stay on top of the lies. Oftentimes this is a far worse punishment than if the truth had been brought forth from the very start. When we lack discipline and we don’t do anything to remedy that, we are in the same boat as the liar and eventually it will catch up to us.
The Enemy is looking for any opportunity to get us off our walk with Christ. Even the smallest things can be exploited. Therefore, we must be vigilant and actively strive to remain disciplined. Otherwise we will find ourselves bound up and caught in the results of that lack of discipline. Then we’re miserable and it’s our own doing. This is the reason why God gives such a clear warning to us to remain disciplined. As I head into this weekend and this new month, I’m thinking about areas of my life where I need to be more disciplined. I want to experience God’s joy, not my own misery. I can only do that by staying disciplined.