Thursday, April 20, 2006

Faith Helps: Discipline, Part 1

One of the least-prized virtues of this era is that of discipline. Discipline, you see, requires earnestness, and earnestness is nowhere popular among the younger generation. For those of my age, life is all about throwing off restrictions and requirements, rules and regulations. The good life is totally uninhibited, with only one's whim to guide one through the twists of life. Principles--deeply held beliefs--are archaic holdovers from distant generations, when men plowed ground in overalls and women wore bonnets all the time. Today, the whim rules, and as a result, discipline suffers.

This mindset has crept into the church. It has also received support from those who decry any sort of structure to the Christian faith, seeing it only as an experiential commitment to God and the Word. When one feels like it, one worships God. When one doesn't, well, that's tough. Instead of being true to the Bible, this mindset is true only to its desires. Discipline isn't needed--it's feeling that's needed, and one can't manipulate feeling. It's pure, and comes, like the wind, whenever it wants. This mindset drives much of the Christianity we see among the younger crowd today. The movement known as the "Emerging Church" certainly emphasizes the priority of feelings, and your average college fellowship likely has a healthy dose of feelings-driven Christianity in it. These students will often have deep (and commendable) passion for God, but without the means to express that commitment consistently and coherently before their unbelieving friends. The result? Alot of passion, and quick decisions, and excited mindsets, and deep lows, some of which lay hold of younger believers. These are high stakes we're talking about here. We're not simply discussing a matter of preference--do you like regularly taking in the Word or not? Do you like praying daily or not? Do you like changing your life or would you rather not?

We are talking about the substance of faith in these matters. At your core level, you are what you do. So many in this age say they are of Christ, but they struggle mightily to live this out. And then, many drift away from an initial commitment when it is not met with passionate action. This sad situation plays out everywhere among my generation. Coming up--a few suggestions to tackle this problem, provided I'm disciplined enough to write this blog.


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