ART 13 - SHOULD BELIEVERS LEAD DISCIPLINED LIVES?
The word discipline is a form of the word disciple. True believers are called disciples of Christ. This means we are followers of Christ. We follow His teaching and His example. A person becomes a disciple of Christ the moment he believes the Gospel of Christ – God's promise of eternal salvation and final glory based on the righteousness of Christ. From that moment on, he is to walk by faith and seek to conform his character and conduct to Christ, not to be saved or kept, not to make himself holy and fit for God's fellowship and presence, and not to earn God's favor and blessing. We are to seek to obey Him in every area of life as we are motivated by grace – the certain assurance of all of salvation and final glory based on the righteousness of Christ. Once this is settled, we who believe the Gospel should order our lives according to God's Word without any thoughts of legalism. If we do not discipline ourselves in certain areas, we will neglect things we are commanded in God's Word to do.
For example, we should discipline ourselves: In public worship – It should be our custom to worship God publicly. We should make a conscious effort to be at church whenever God's people are met to worship God and study His Word. In prayer – If this means setting aside a certain time each day to pray, then we should do this. We do not want prayer or any other act of godliness to become mere habit or ritual, but we need to discipline ourselves or we will neglect it. Many imply that these things come naturally to a believer, but they do not. In giving to support the Gospel and the church – If this means setting aside a certain amount out of our budget, then we should do it. In reading and studying God's word – Again, if this means setting aside a certain time each day, then we should do it.
These are just a few of the areas in which we should discipline ourselves. There is a blessing attached to each of these privileges, not that we earn God's blessings in doing any of these things, but that they are God's appointed means by which He sovereignly and freely blesses us out of the abundance of His grace in Christ.