As leaders in the Christian community, discipline is probably one of the last words anyone would want to hear. Discipline is the process of training or correcting someone to get or do better. In our walk with God, there are ultimately two types of disciplines we experience: God’s discipline and self-discipline.
Proverbs 3:12 states that “the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.” God’s discipline is only done out of love! The true root of discipline is found in love. As leaders, everything we do, whether on a stage or behind the scenes, must come from a foundation that is rooted in love, God’s love. When I first embarked my journey with Jesus, His discipline was the first thing I encountered. It was at an altar where God had asked me to leave the one person I desired the most: my fiancé. I was reluctant at His correction and request. I found myself reading the previous scripture thinking, “He must really love me.” After being obedient to His correction, I now have no regrets obeying God’s discipline. Now I can say I am thankful for His discipline and correction because God saved me from an emotional relationship, time, and even money. The reality is God will sometimes remove the things we desire the most, simply to give us what we need the most. Every leader must learn to trust this reality. God’s way will always be higher than our own way.
True leaders are born in discipline. 1 Timothy 4:7 encourages us to “discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness” (NASB). As leaders of faith, we have to acknowledge that discipline will be a sacrifice, but it will never be a setback. We all have big dreams and goals to obtain, whether in the work field or in the ministry field. If God disciplines us out of love, how much more can we not discipline ourselves? Leaders that exercise discipline highly obtain maturity and success regardless of whatever area they serve. I highly encourage for every believer and leader to discipline themselves to pray, have faith, and to walk out in obedience.
Prayer is a place where visions and dreams are implanted within us for the lives of others and even ourselves. As leaders, what visions are you holding on to? What are those old dreams and desires that have been hiding? Leaders make time for the things that matter the most. Prayer is a place of intimacy and love. Anything done out of the place of love might just be consider religious. The more time pressed into God’s love, the greater vision, the faith, the blessings, and the identity that will emerge out of the leader.
Secondly, it takes discipline to take faith. Faith is the assurance of the things not yet seen. Faith is unseen in the natural eyes, but real leaders, see the unseen with their spiritual eyes. Things might not always go as planned. When circumstances arrive, leaders will have the choice to either trust God or to doubt. The leadership’s actions will always carry an effect. Leaders build leaders. Moreover, leaders that step out in faith might just open doors for others to have faith. For instance, the Jarius’ faith opened the way for the woman with the issue of blood to exercise her faith as she reached for Jesus’ garment. Both received their miracle, but the woman would never have exercised her faith, if Jarius’ faith had not exercised it first (Mark 5: 21-43).
Lastly, a great leader will be disciplined to walk in obedience. A great example of a disciplined leader is Pastor Tommy Burchfield. He was told in prayer that he would one day build a church on one of the busiest interstate highways in the nation. The property was not for sale at all. However, he had disciplined himself so much to prayer, he already knew and trusted the voice of God. He chose to step out on faith regardless of what the landlords were telling him. Today, Believers World Outreach Church, sits on Interstate-10 highway in Brookshire, Texas because of a man who valued discipline. Leaders will always have a choice to believe and walk out the vision given to them in obedience.
Regardless of your servitude or position as a leader, discipline is a value everyone should obtain to have. I encourage every leader to not only receive God’s discipline, but to also live self-discipline. True leaders live out discipline. The fruit will be plentiful. Leaders that build themselves get to build the vision, the future leaders, and the church. So start now, choose to be that leader that walks out in discipline to pray, have faith, and to truly obey all that God has called them to do. Your tomorrow will thank you for the training you began today. Your obedience to accept God’s corrections will make your life and leadership progressive. Discipline takes time, but at the end, the fruit will be immeasurable.
Lilly Olivares is woman with a passion for intercession, world missions, and young people. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology from Texas A&M International University where she helped serve and lead a campus college ministry, Fellowship for Christian Athletes, for three years. She is currently a Discipleship Student at Texas Bible Institute in Columbus, Texas. Lilly hopes continue her education after bible school by pursing a Doctoral in Physical Therapy degree. She aspires to serve and be the light in the healthcare field in the future.