Posted in John, Romans

Desire, Discipline, and Delight 

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38

Desire without discipline will lead to defeat. All Christians have a desire for Jesus, but many don’t add discipline to their desire so when they are thirsty they go to wrong places. Some go to addictions, others to entertainment, some to human relationships, and others to work, but only Jesus Himself can satisfy the deep thirst of our souls. When we don’t take time to be in His Presence reading His Word, praying, worshipping and connecting with other believers we are ignoring the means by which He pours out His Spirit on us, and this leaves us in spiritual defeat. Many believers have the testimony Paul describes in Romans 7:19, “The good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.”  Instead of rivers flowing, many believers feel discouraged because of repeated failure.

Discipline without delight will lead only to us doing our duty. If Jesus becomes one more “have to” on our list, our relationship with Him will only be one more burden required of us. It is possible to read the Bible, pray, and go to church without ever drinking from Jesus. It is possible to have a Christianity defined but what “I” do for God instead of what God is doing in me. Trust me, I’ve lived this way and all it does is produce spiritual pride which results in hardness of heart. Discipline will always start out as a “have to,” but if we refuse to make it an end in itself, discipline will eventually give way to delight as our spiritual taste buds come alive to God’s presence and word.

No one is impressed by the discipline of a teenage boy who remembers to eat three times a day.  Eating is his delight, not his duty. When we reach delight we stop noticing our discipline because it just becomes part of who we are!


Pastor at City Church in Madison, Wisconsin