disciple-discipline-lrgThe more you study God’s Word and engage in conversations with Him, the more you’ll realize how deeply passionate He is about your devotion to Him. He wants (and deserves) every part of you to be in total submission and surrender to Him. He desires this, not only because He is deserving of it, but because He understands the benefits that such devotion will bring to your life and relationships. Having a single-minded focus on God produces the fruit of an abundant life.

A shift in focus must occur if you are going to experience this abundant life Jesus spoke of. This shift must move you from seeing discipline as the end-all of your Christian faith, to embracing discipleship as the process for becoming what God has designed you to be.

Discipleship focuses on God in the context of relationship — first with Him, then with others. This is a forever changing, forever growing, forever exploring adventure. Discipline alone will tend to draw your focus toward the task of relationship, rather than simply interacting with God and others.

How can such a shift in focus affect your struggle with temptation? Shouldn’t you be more focused on discipline so you can resist each temptation you face? When you lock in too intently on discipline alone as the answer for resisting temptation, you actually end up feeling more frustrated and defeated. Discipline can deceive you into thinking that resisting temptation has something to do with your own power or strength. The truth is that only God can defeat the temptations in your life. Therefore, it is through discipleship that you are truly set free to live a daily life of purity.

One final significant difference that must be mentioned between discipline and discipleship is that discipline can often be pursued in isolation, whereas discipleship requires relationship. This is key to understanding the value of becoming a disciple of Christ. You were never designed to live in isolation from God or others. This is where discipleship takes you out of your comfort zone, but this is ultimately for your own good. In fact, God has mysteriously designed your relationships with others to act as a hedge of protection to help you fight the battle against sin. Discipleship relationships form a sort of ‘purity team’ that aids in strengthening the fight for purity. Godly teammates are needed in order to win the ongoing battle.

Take a look at your relationships and see if there are some individuals with whom you can go deeper. Invite them to be part of your team. Also, evaluate your relationship with God, and ask Him to show you how to grow in your intimacy with Him.

By God’s grace, pray to become the faithful disciple He desires you to be.