If you are like many people, you made a list of New Year's Resolutions at the beginning of January.
How's that going?
Many of our resolutions are doomed to fail. 88%, in fact, if Wikipedia is correct.
We can try really hard to come up with ways to succeed . . .
All of these things can help.
But there one thing you cannot accomplish goals without: discipline.
I can have all the desire in the world to complete a marathon, but unless I lace up my sneakers and actually hit the jogging trail, I'm doomed to failure. You may desire a healthy body, but unless you exercise faithfully and eat properly, you are doomed to failure.
Discipline, not desire, determines destiny.*
My husband says that often. But he doesn't just talk it; he walks it.
I should know. . . I live with the man.
Discipline gets him up in the morning to read his Bible. Daily.
Discipline aids him in reading the Bible aloud to his family every morning at breakfast.
Discipline sits him at his desk in a pool of tropical sweat so he can study for sermons and classes.
Discipline requires him to reject fried chicken and eat its bland counterparts instead.
Discipline allows him to sigh instead of rant when a careless child breaks a window pane.
Discipline. Discipline. Discipline.
I tilt my head to one side and watch him. I was not born a naturally self-disciplined person. So I observe and learn from him. Since being married to him I have radically increased in my own self-discipline. This is all the Lord, actually. All grace. But I am amazed at what the example of one man has done in my life.
And my children's lives.
Because they are watching us, those little people that cling to our skirts and wipe their runny noses on our suit coats. They watch us and learn. From some of us they learn that church attendance is negotiable and that the Bible is the book to search for and dust off on a Sunday go-to-meeting morning. From some of us, I hope, they learn that the Bible is the treasure of our lives. To be delved into and lived by. To swim in and to drink up.
Maybe you have a goal to read your Bible this year. Maybe you want to read it all the way through. Or maybe your goal is just to read it daily. Maybe you have already failed in your goal, not because of a lack of desire, but because of a lack of discipline.
Well, get up. Dust off your knees. A just man falleth seven times and riseth up again. (Proverbs 24:16) So don't stay where you fell. Rise up again. Start fresh.
Today is a new day. So it's a new chance.
God's mercies are new every morning.
And all around you, there are people watching and learning from you.
So live a lifestyle of discipline.
Because discipline--not desire--determines destiny.
Other helps on this topic:
Do you need a Bible Reading Plan?
It's not too late for you to read through your Bible this year! If that is one of your goals, don't give up. Try out one of these six Bible reading plans.
Have you made goals for this year?
If not, it's never too late to make some. These goal planning worksheets can help you in your endeavor.
Are you determined to follow through on your resolutions or goals for this year?
Read this article by Michael Hyatt on How To Make New Year's Resolutions Stick.
*It is often hard to nail down the origin of quotes. I don't know who said this first, but he was wise.
Tim and Laura
Timothy and Laura Berrey are missionaries with Gospel Fellowship Association. They share a passion for missions which has taken them to several countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe. They currently minister in the Philippines.
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