Discipline is a verb meaning to train or develop by instruction and exercise in self-control or obedience.
The best athletes are disciplined. Loyal military men and women are disciplined. The most effective business leaders are disciplined.
And the Bible teaches that faithful followers of Christ must be single-minded, focused, and disciplined too.
We see a vibrant illustration of this discipline in Joshua’s sixth chapter.
God provided specific instruction. “You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days.” (Joshua 6:3, ESV)
“Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark ... and the priests shall blow the trumpets.” (Joshua 6:4, ESV)
“Joshua commanded the people, ‘You shall not shout or make your voice heard, neither shall any word go out of your mouth, until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout.’ ” (Joshua 6:10, ESV)
Six days in a row the nation rose early, dedicated to accomplishing their assignment. God had given everyone a mission. Every morning, they did as God commanded. They were faithfully disciplined in every detail.
The seventh day was different. The nation “rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times. And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, ‘Shout, for the LORD has given you the city.’ ” (Joshua 6:15-17, ESV)
The Hall of Faith says, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.” (Hebrews 11:30, ESV)
God didn’t need Rambo to win the war. He used run-of-the-mill, ordinary folks, like us.
Their faithful and disciplined obedience to God’s instruction paid historic dividends. The concentric solid rock walls encircling and defending Jericho, though perfectly impenetrable, came crashing down.
God rewarded the faithful discipline and obedience of His people as He caused the defeat of their enemy. It was their disciplined faith and His glorious grace!
Discipline is not a dirty word!
God’s people, those who have been saved solely by God’s finished work on the cross, have been invited to join God in faithful and disciplined obedience. We are invited to practice the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible study, ministry and mission. Like the Israelites, we must rise early, dedicated and disciplined, faithful and obedient in the little details. As we faithfully do our part, God will demonstrate His glorious grace.