Thursday, July 4, 2013

Discipline or Pleasure?

We weren't created to run on discipline only.
We need pleasure in our lives.
Because if it's only discipline keeping us going, we will eventually quit.
That's the way God created us.

But, in my walk with God, I find it easy to default to discipline. I like knowing what I'm supposed to be doing, when I'm supposed to be doing it, and how I'm supposed to be doing it.

Sometimes in my desire for those details I forget that I'm supposed to enjoy it too. I get so caught up in the "rules" that I miss everything else. At least for a while . . .

Just following the rules doesn't last long . . . even for someone who likes them.

I get tired of doing it because I think I'm supposed to. I get bored of doing something because I have to.

And it's because I'm missing something when I get caught up in the rules.

I'm missing pleasure. I'm missing out on enjoying my relationship with God. I'm missing out on enjoying much if life. And when I feel like I'm missing out, it's easy to just quit doing the things I feel are causing me to miss out.

Then I read Psalms and I get stuck in the 37th Psalm verse 4: "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."

The second part of that verse sounds great - God will give me what I want. But, that doesn't happen without the first part - I need to find delight in God first. And when I'm finding delight or pleasure in God, the desires of my heart become what He wants to give me anyways.

The question then becomes . . .

How do I find pleasure in God?
What does it look like to find pleasure in God?

I used to wonder if it was even possible to find pleasure in God, but Scripture seems to say that it is. So, then I'm left wondering how.

I think that's something that can be different for each person. We don't all find pleasure in the same things in the rest of life, so we won't all find pleasure in God in the same way.

For some it might be a worship service. For some it might be out in nature. For some it might be in the quiet place as they dig deeper into the Bible. For others it might be an art project or dancing.

Or it could be many other things.

But, one thing I'm learning, if I'm not finding pleasure in God, my relationship with Him stops growing and even goes backwards. Discipline will only get me so far. If there's no pleasure, I will eventually quit.

I'm not saying there is no place for discipline. We need it. We need discipline to keep us growing. But it can't be the only thing sustaining us, because that won't last.

We need discipline to come alongside our pleasure, so both can help us grow.

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