Links Daily Devotional

The Wisdom of Discipline

Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. (Proverbs 6:6, ESV)

It was a beautiful late summer evening as the sun settled behind the tree-lined fairways. I was walking down the fairway with my bag slung on my shoulder enjoying the company of my friends when these words hijacked my thoughts: I have become a lazy golfer, a sluggard. By lazy I mean I don’t practice, I don’t play very often, I lose my focus quite easily, and it’s more enjoyable to connect with my playing partners than it is to think about my score.

This new awareness led me to ponder what made it possible for me to be successful at playing competitive golf for 30 years. Discipline. Whether I felt like it or not, I demonstrated a great amount of self-discipline every day by hitting hundreds of practice balls, spending hours upon hours on the putting green, and playing countless holes. I was like the ant in today’s passage who “without having a chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest” (vv. 7-8).

My ability to be disciplined has not disappeared; I have just channeled it toward something else: running. Regardless of my schedule, I will find the time to run five or six times a week. As I did with golf, I have become like the ant when it comes to running.

As I embrace the goodness that comes with being disciplined in many areas of my life, I also recognize the need to be honest about the places I am more like the sluggard. So here is my confession. I am a sluggard when it comes to spending time with Jesus every morning. I willingly set the alarm to 6:00 to get up and run, but I struggle to rise early to be in God’s presence.

I’m thankful for these words from the book of Proverbs today as a reminder about the importance of being wise in the ways we spend our time. While many routines in life can help us establish the habit of discipline, we never capture discipline’s full benefits until we practice spending purposeful time with God. Making the choice to be with Jesus for the pure pleasure of enjoying his company readies our hearts to enter our daily world. It is the way to an excellence that permeates every aspect in our lives, whether we are playing golf, cleaning the house, serving in church, or visiting family.

As we consider the ways of the ant this morning, I invite you to ponder the places where your heart and hands have fallen into a slumber. Do you need more intentional time with Jesus? Then set a plan and stick to it. You’ll be blessed by the effort and the result!

Tracy Hanson
September 2, 2014
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