(Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash)
A little while ago I learnt that many gyms operated on the fact that many people would sign up for memberships, but only a small percentage would be disciplined enough to follow through and regularly use the gym. Should everyone who got a membership maximise the use of that membership, the gym would not have enough equipment for all.
There are people making a living out of your ill-discipline.
Now, let me just add a disclaimer that I don't have the complete facts to back up that statement, and that there are amazing gym owners who would like nothing more than to have their gyms full, all the time. This model of profit making does exist though. Many companies set up things like cash-back promotions that promise you money back should you go through the necessary steps. Why didn't they just offer a discount off the price in the first place? Because most people won't go through the very inconvenient hoops that were set up to get the cash-back. There are people making a living our of our ill-discipline.
Spiritually this is happening too. We have an enemy that is on the lookout for the perfect opportunity to tear us apart (1 Peter 5:8, "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."). And when I look over my life, I am saddened to say that I have made myself pretty easy prey at times. Those times often weren't because something massively major was taking all of my attention. It was often because I did not have a disciplined hunger for God.
What do I mean? I mean that I had the intention of seeking after God, for growing and maturing in Him. But I didn't go through with that intention. My Bible reading was slack. My prayer life was worse. I made up for those by serving harder and longer, but I was going dry on the inside.
The basic Christian disciplines will never be sexy and cool, but they are always necessary. We have to discipline ourselves to hunger after God. Time and time again the Psalms show us how David wrote songs about discipline (e.g. Psalm 1). I used to think he was such a show-off about it. Then I had this thought: maybe even David had to remind himself of its importance and therefore made a song about it!
I believe that God has created each and every one of us with a purpose. That purpose requires us to be disciplined, to continue to hunger after Him daily. This hunger is not going to always feel natural and enticing, and that's why we need to be disciplined. We need to stop allowing ourselves to be easy prey.
Note: Ps Nate spoke about "Disciplined Hunger" in a message on 1/7/18. You can access it in the podcast section to get a fuller picture of disciplined hunger!