There’s an adage that says the best things in life are free. That’s dumb. Haven’t you noticed that some of our highest aspirations have no end and cost a lot? Allow me to illustrate this with three examples (yes I’m a preacher)
1. Getting in shape. You eat right, go to the gym, or hit the road running and lose some pounds, build some muscle, but it never stops? If you stop, you’ll start going the opposite way, right back to where you started. Getting in shape, and more importantly, staying in shape, is a discipline. It’s a lifestyle.
2. Marriage. It may start rocky because two sinners are thrown together under one roof–it makes sense that you’d have some troubles (Lord knows we did). But you work at it. You put your own selfish desires down and build up your spouse and look for ways to serve them. But that doesn’t stop–it can’t! If it does, you’ll quickly digress in your relationship and end up bitter towards one another, with nobody taking ownership for why things have crumbled. Maintaining marriage is a discipline, a lifestyle.
3. Your spiritual life. When someone first enters relationship with God through Jesus, there’s excitement and eagerness. You might even be excited to get out and tell someone, maybe a friend or family member, about Jesus. You read the Bible. You pray as best you know how. But does that ever stop? Cultivating spiritual growth is a discipline and lifestyle. It encompasses everything you are and all you do.
I like three point sermons personally. But inevitably you have to ask, what’s THE point? Those things worth having, being, and doing are not one-time endeavors or accomplishments. If you aren’t seeing “success” in some of these areas of life or others (parenting, career, etc.) it’s probably because there’s a lack of discipline and a lack of treating these aspirations with a lifestyle approach.
Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. That’s a tough admonition from Paul, but it’s true. And it requires discipline, because it’s a lifestyle.