While hiking Mount Cameron this summer, one of the four 14-thousand-foot peaks that make up the Decalibron in Colorado, I met a gentleman in his 70’s descending the mountain. He said Cameron was his 45th 14-thousand-foot summit and that he had climbed most of them since he turned 65! I asked what his secret was. He responded, “You just gotta keep movin’ son!” Great wisdom from a High Country encounter.
Be disciplined! Most folks are familiar with the regimens of physical discipline – dimensions of regular activity and good nutritional habits that respect the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit (1Cor.6:19). Some men practice good emotional discipline to keep the mind clear and clean by “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus the Christ” (2Cor.10:5). Very few men practice spiritual disciplines. Many see them as religious practices that do not apply today while others have just never thought of this dimension of discipline.
"But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, Who is unseen; and your Father, Who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:17-18. Jesus calls out the hypocrites that fast and make sure all know they are suffering for the Lord. Jesus expects His disciples to follow His example, that of walking joyfully in a life of disciplined obedience to the Father. His life of discipline included prayer, worship, fasting, submission, frugality, stewardship and perseverance. One discipline missing is spending time in the word of God but remember He was the Word. The point made in Matthew’s gospel is that Jesus' discipline was a reflection of His relationship with the Father - discipline is not a religious practice but a reflection of the relationship He calls us to. That is a wake-up call! When the path gets rocky and the summit seems distant, you just gotta keep movin’. Personal discipline – physical, emotional and spiritual, reflects maturity in relationship with Jesus the Christ.
In Faithful Fathering’s study called Nehemiah Initiative, fathers are challenged to take on ten spiritual disciplines – to spend time in Scripture, prayer, fasting, worship, study and journaling; and to move to a new level of submission, frugality, stewardship and perseverance. Again, these are not religious practices but components for maturing in relationship. Accept the charge to lead by example, disciplined in your relationship with Jesus the Christ.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for Your word and for that High Country encounter. I know there is no happenstance with You. You had me right where You wanted me and reminded me that when the path is rocky or the summit seems distant, to keep movin’, to persevere in a disciplined relationship with You. Thank You Lord for the grace You have shown me in the opportunity to be Your representative in family. Strengthen me to be the man, husband and father You call me to be, that my family needs. Help me lead by example and pass the baton of faith successfully to the next generation. Amen.
A faithful father leads by example, disciplined in relationship with Jesus the Christ.