Discipline

If you are a Christian, you are going to be pruned. Count on it. (…) God cuts off branches that we feel are productive so that more fruit may be produced. This can be confusing. We believe we are being fruitful and are puzzled, even frustrated, by God’s pruning. We ask, “Why are you doing this God?” (…) Isn’t that what we say when he prunes us? “Don’t you love me? Don’t you care? Don’t you see what’s going on?” And we think God is angry with us. No, he’s not angry. One of the biggest mistakes Christians make is confusing pruning with punishment. Pruning is not punishment, so don’t equate the two. God is not angry with you. He just sees that you are someone who can bear more fruit, someone who has the potential for greatness; someone he wants to use in a significant way. He wants you to be as fruitful as you possible can be, so he prunes you back, even loping off some of the things he has been blessing in your life. (…) It is not just deadwood that goes. God often cuts back good things too, in order to make us healthier. It is not always pleasant, but pruning is absolutely essential for spiritual growth. It is not optional. Remember, God is glorified when we bear “much fruit” (John 15:8), and that requires pruning.

Rick Warren

Rick Warren, God’s Power To Change Your Life, 2006, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, p.224-225

Bible commentator, Warren Wiersbe says: As we read our Bibles we discover that there are two kinds of storms: storms of correction, when God disciplines us, and storms of perfection, when God helps us to grow. – Jonah ended up in a storm because he disobeyed God and had to be corrected. The disciples in the boat were in a storm because they had obeyed Christ and had to be perfected.

“Discipline isn’t on your back needling you with imperatives, it’s by your side encouraging you with incentives.”

Cybil Stanton

On Thursday, 15th January 2009, Flight 1549 too off from LaGuardia, New York, heading for North Caroline with 155 passengers and crew on board. Just one minute into the flight, the plane experienced a massive bird strike and all power was lost in both engines.

Faced with a pilot’s worst nightmare, Captain Chesley Sullenberger contacted the ground and weighted up his options. Almost immediately it was obvious that a return to LaGuardia was not on the cards, neither was the short flight to Teteboro, New Jersey. So with time running out and a calmness that revealed nothing of his inner turmoil, Captain Sullenberger spoke what most assumed would be his last words: ‘We’ll be in the Hudson.’

The fact that Flight 1549 landed on the Hudson River in one piece, without loss of life or serious injury was deemed nothing short of a miracle – and it some ways it was. But as Sullenberger revealed in an interview a few weeks later, he wasn’t praying during those five short minutes – ‘I assumed others were taking care of that.’ – What he was doing was responding to a unique situation as if it happened all the time.

After forty years as a pilot, Sullenberger reacted to the dilemma facing him as if it was second nature. His decision to ditch in the Hudson River wasn’t made because the rules told him that was the right thing to do. Neither was he making the decision based on the possible consequences of doing so – after all, planes are not designed to land on water, and most attempts have ended in complete catastrophe.

What allowed Captain Sullenberger to make the decision that turned out to be the ‘miracle on the Hudson’ was forty years of experience, training and discipline. Through hundreds and hundreds of flying hours, he had developed a set of habits and skills that, though now second nature to him, allowed him to make decisions that were not the obvious choices to make nor the ones that his pilot’s manual would have told him to choose.

Moral success is every bit as much about the formation of good habits over time and through disciplined effort, as any other skill. And the point of all this training and discipline is that on the day – at the moment of decision – you do the right things naturally.

Source: Different Eyes: The Art Of Living Beautifully by Steve Chalke and Alan Mann, p.63-64

“All great leaders have understood that their number one responsibility is cultivating their own discipline and personal growth. Those who cannot lead themselves cannot lead others.”

John Maxwell.

“The course of least resistance makes crooked rivers and crooked men.”

William Danforth

Hope got Peter out of the boat.

Trust held him up.

Fear sank him.

Everything hinged on whether he focused on the Saviour or the storm.

John Ortberg

Source: John Ortberg, If You Want To Walk On The Water You Have Got To Get Out Of The Boat , p.155

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.

Proverbs 12:1

My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 12:5-11

It is discipline, drive and determination that determines success.

R. Ian Seymour

Pay now and play later or play now and pay later. The choice is up to you.

“I’ve never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline… I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour – the greatest fulfilment to all he holds dear – is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle, victorious.”

Vince Lombardi

Do the tough stuff first.

“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practised every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day. It is the accumulative weight of our disciplines and our judgments that leads us to either fortune or failure.

Jim Rohn, writer and motivational speaker

“There are two kinds of pain and we can’t escape both of them. The first is the pain of discipline. The second is the pain of regret.”

James Ryan, writer

“For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, ‘it might have been’.”

John Greenleaf Whittier

Discipline weighs ounces; regret weighs tons!

“Do the hard jobs first. The easy ones will take care of themselves.”

Dale Carnegie (1888-1955), writer and lecturer

“There are some things in life that would be good to have; like a raise, a better boss, or a Ph.D. Then there are things that you must have, such as food, water and air. Discipline ranks in the must have category, right beside food, water and air!”

Paul J. Meyer