The feats that we will watch on television over the coming weeks will be at a level that most of us could never hope to achieve. We will be in awe of those who can cover 100 metres on foot at an average speed of about 36 km/h; wonder at the leg power which lifts an athlete over 6 feet off the ground; ponder the person who can throw a hammer further than we could kick a football… Watching athletes of this level serves as an important reminder of untouched potential within us all. What distinguishes them from others is the level of commitment and discipline they give to achieve.
We may never aspire
to such heights. Many of us are at a time of life where even the thought
of attempting such feats sends our spouse to the telephone to call the
ambulance to deal with our exhaustion! But we can learn from their example.
Richard Foster’s book “Celebration of Discipline” is an exercise book for those who wish a fitter faith: fitter for the purposes for which God has called us.
Whether we simply may
want to humbly know the presence of God as we bow to pray, or to understand
the impact of the gospel upon our relationships with family, to try to
make some sense out of the life we have been given, seek some power to
be authentic christians at work, try to remain faithful in our school situation
or whether we seek to scale the Olympic Heights of christian faith, discipline
is essential. The command of Jesus, “take up your cross daily” is
an invitation to a discipline that will bear fruit to eternity.
The exercise of discipline is incredibly liberating.
When Ev and I began running regularly over 18 months ago, Ev could not even complete a lap of the block. For me, 2 kms left me searching for a place to lie down for a day or two just to recover. But little by little, day by day, our consistent efforts began to see an increase in speed and stamina, whereby we were able to tackle distances we could once only read about, at speeds which staggered us.
Many of us consider spending half an hour in prayer to be the spiritual equivalent of running a marathon. But begin with spending five minutes each morning in prayer. You will not only find that time growing in length, but in importance and in intimacy. You will begin to anticipate the time, and cherish each moment spent in conversation with our Heavenly Father. Through the discipline of a daily time of devoted prayer, you will be amazed at the potential which it begins to unleash.
September 24, 2000
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