The word discipleship and the word discipline are one and the same. That fascinates me. When we decide to become disciples (followers) of Jesus Christ the first question we must ask ourselves is, “What disciplines must I now incorporate into my life in order to remain faithful to my decision to become a disciple?” In other words, if we want to be disciples of Jesus Christ we must live disciplined lives.

Disciplined Discipleship is necessary because of the obstacles we face: we are fleshly creatures, we live in a fallen world, and we are opposed by a powerful enemy. Because of these obstacles the divine-human (Spirit-flesh) relationship is in constant tension. In the midst of these obstacles our spiritual formation is a mysterious process that seeks a harmonious synergy between the divine and the human. If we eliminate (or even underemphasize) one side or the other of the relationship we resolve the inherent tension at the cost of biblical fidelity.

Anyone who wants to examine the process of Christian Spiritual Formation must look within three sources: (1) Scripture, (2) our own observations and experiences, and (3) the observations and experiences of others. As we learn from these sources we must avoid the extremes that plague the Church in every generation: Performance-Based Religion (toxic religion, legalism) and Preference-Based Religion (anything goes religion, libertinism). The two extremes we’re seeking to avoid can also be described as willful performance or will-less passivity.

The harmonious balance we are seeking is willing participation in the process of spiritual transformation. We are seeking to enter into and remain within that life-long process of willingly, diligently, consistently, and systematically yielding one’s entire self (intellect, will, and emotions) to the Holy Spirit of God as He is revealed and released through the Word of God in order to be transformed from the image of this fallen age and into the image of Jesus Christ (the prototype human being) to the honor and glory of God and for the intentional benefit of other human beings.

What we are seeking, in short, is Disciplined Discipleship.