(Preahed at Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church, 4-19-15)
When I served as interim at First Baptist Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, I had the opportunity to go up to the high school during their summer band practice. I was impressed with the quality of what was going on there, and I really enjoyed watching the directors work with the band on their numbers: not only on just “getting the notes right”, but on all the little details. After he had finished his part, one of the directors came and sat by me in the auditorium where I was watching, and we visited for a while. He told me about the practices they were putting in during the summer, and how they were going to practice during the school year as well. I told him, “You know, I don’t think people realize all the work that goes in to putting together a band performance of this quality.” It doesn’t just “happen”; it takes a lot of discipline, practice, and work. Those of you who are involved in our church choir, and the big Pleasant Ridge Christmas program, know how true that is!
What we need to realize is that the same thing is also true in the Christian life. That band doesn’t just “show up” and play these great numbers during halftime, and do so well at contests. It takes daily discipline and practice to get there. And the same thing is true with the Christian life. You can’t just “show up” for an hour a week on Sunday mornings, and think that you are going to have a great and victorious Christian life. Showing up on Sundays is part of it, but not nearly all. Just like with the high school band — and really any other worthwhile endeavor in life — it takes some basic disciplines to succeed.
Last Sunday we looked at how Jesus called us to be “disciples” and what that means. We were not saved just to come to church and sit, but to make Him the Master of our lives, and to follow Him. But what does that look like? HOW do we follow Him? Our passage for this morning gives us an introduction to what I am calling, “The Disciplines of Disciples” — basic discipline of the Christian life which we must each employ if we are going to be effective disciple of Jesus Christ. Just like in the band, it takes discipline to be a good disciple, as we see in our text, I Timothy 4:7-8,
“Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” Continue reading