I was recently reading a blog and came across this quote: “Everyone must choose one of two pains: The Pain of Discipline or the Pain of Regret.“ As I read the quote, my heart stirred with words that spoke to a deep place within my life. I am a planner and a vision caster. I tend toward thinking about big things and seeing goals that are obtainable with hard work and discipline. The problem is that in the midst of the messy details and the long-term work to make the goal come true, I tire out, lose focus, and at the end of the day feel the pain of regret that I have not spent my time wisely and with a firm determination.
As I look at Jesus’ life as we enter Holy Week and the time leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, I am reminded of Jesus’ life of discipline and obedience. In Philippians 2:7-8 we read, “Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” We also read of Jesus’ commitment and discipline to spend time regularly with the Father and to spend time in corporate worship and relationship building. Jesus had the discipline to remove himself from community so that he could spend time with God, while making sure he was in relationship with the disciples, friends (Mary, Martha, and Lazarus), and people who were in need of healing (physical, emotional, mental, relational, and spiritual).
How are we being called to a life of discipline where we place God at the forefront, while maintaining our relationships with other people within the family of God and outside of the Church community? How are we called to establish goals and hopes for each day, each month, and each year and have the discipline to seek aper these God given visions and goals in our lives? How do we live intentionally, knowing there is pain in discipline, but the rewards are much greater than the feeling of the pain of regret when we lose our focus to live the abundant life in Christ.