March 19, 2009


1 Corinthians 9:24-27

[We go] into strict training … to get a crown that will last forever.
1 Corinthians 9:25


The mere thought of discipline is not very popular today. We are impulsive pleasure seekers, living for the moment, looking for instant gratification without any restraints. Discipline has become a dirty word.

But as Harry Emerson Fosdick maintained, “No horse gets anywhere until it is harnessed … no Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled; no life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, and disciplined.”

The alternative to discipline is disaster. Living without disciplines is like living without exercise. In fact, from the Greek word for discipline, we derive our English word “gymnasium,” the place where exercise happens. Just as we need physical exercise to maintain our physical bodies, so we need spiritual exercises such as prayer, study, solitude, and simplicity to keep in shape spiritually.

Discipline and training stretch us to overcome obstacles. What would a violin sound like if its strings were not stretched tight and exercised? Discipline and training produce results that will last (see John 15:16).

What spiritual exercise program do you need to join? What entangling sin do you need to throw off?

Only disciplined training in God’s gymnasium will prepare us for the challenges ahead.

Lord Jesus, show us the spiritual exercises we need to develop to be fit for your service. Help us to train faithfully so that we are in tune with your design for our lives. Amen!

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!