Day 17 Still.

On Discipline:

“Discipline is not punishment for the past but preparation for the future.” – Andrew Farley

“Discipline equals freedom.” – Jocko Willink

“There are two freedoms – the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where he is free to do what he ought.” – Charles Kingsley

Putting it all together. Discipline is not necessarily bondage, but it is actually setting people free to do what they are supposed to do, so they are ready for when the time comes.

At one point in all this reading and listening, the question arises: When tragedy falls, are you a trustworthy and reliable man? I say, until that day comes, discipline yourself, train yourself to do what you should do.

At one point, Marhabal, commander of his cavalry, quipped – “You know how to win a victory, Hannibal, but you do not know how to use one.”

I propose that one reason Hannibal offered a truce to Scipio was because he himself was not prepared for what was to come. His victory was, as we’re teaching in these upcoming Sundays, like talents – both were gains and advantages, but not necessarily permanent ones. Our glorious victories are made more glorious if used to our advantage, and I say that the best way for us to utilize our victories is to discipline ourselves in the arts and acts that led us to winning.

It was therefore as if Scipio was there in that conversation with Marhabal, when the Roman Commander told the Carthiginian – “Prepare for war, since you have been unable to endure a peace.”

True enough, there are storms coming. At least, the way I see it. I can go ahead and wallow in my own self-pity and lament until the day my body expires and I go to be with Christ… but I see that I have a reason for being in this reality greater than to just mope around.

I will not be around to wait for the rains to drown me, or for the lightning to strike me down – I say now, I will discipline myself in the arts of past victories, training myself in writing, talking, listening, and the like, strengthening my body and mind to be the reliable man when the sky falls.

As I typed on self-pity, I realized I have actually already felt sorry for myself. For I have transgressed at the 36th Law of Power – I have given too much attention to what I really want, and have effectively repulsed it. The more I focus on what I want, the more it slips away.

The Law is to disdain things I cannot have. In that sense I actually respect my desires, by putting them into their place, as part of my being, and not my foundation.

To understand what my foundation is, is to do the opposite of disdaining what I cannot have – I appreciate and value what I do have.

And in this world which CONSTANTLY bombards our senses with what we need to do or have to be happy, it is just necessarily, vital for one and all who consider themselves in the body of Christ to understand that, more than anything else that could ever spark joy, we have the Creator of the Universe, and all things seen and unseen.

We may not have the ideal partner, or the dream job/house/yacht – but we have Christ; more than any shallow promise the world has for us, friends, we have Christ, and Christ has us!

And true enough, Christ is our tutor, who is with us and trains and teaches us real-time, whether we are in peace, or in the middle of a storm. Christ prepares us, Christ disciplines us and trains us for the future, while also being with us in the actual battles we get ourselves into.

Christ has set us free of fear, that we could move with certainty, knowing that He will never leave nor forsake us, even when we intentionally make the wrong decisions, or at least the decisions that have greater consequences.

See, this is me appreciating what I have. This is me, thankful for Christ, and who He is, and what He has done – that, THAT is what I’m sure I have – perfect and everlasting love from the God of Creation, through His Son Jesus Christ. I may not have a grasp on my being, and I may not know the range of my beliefs at any given moment, but I do know that I can declare how Christ, and nothing else, is on whom I stand – and friends, for those of us who claim to be His, that is more than enough.

It’s enough, so that whether my being still exists and functions in this reality, or if I am in eternity with God, I am celebrating, and I am celebrating Christ, who guaranteed my reconciliation and salvation through His death and resurrection.

This is me appreciating what I have, in spite of all the temptations present, to fantasize on what I do not have, and to give myself false hope under the name of ‘setting a vision’ when all I’m doing is setting myself up for failure by way of overwhelming self-expectations.

I do not necessarily express disdain over these things that I cannot have, but I will just say that I am in peace even if I cannot have everything that I want – for behold, the Son of God, the Good Shepherd, the Savior – We were everything that HE wanted, and He certainly gave everything – laying down His life, by way of His body and blood, He took the fall we were supposed to suffer.

Nope, no disdain at all – only an outright wonder and gratefulness to the One who loved me first.

Thank You, Jesus. You know how I may suffer for what I do not have, and for what I cannot have, and I trust Your wisdom and guidance and help for these moments that I am overwhelmed. I am amazed at how You are able to still tolerate me and understand me.

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