Why do we cling to the ideals of discipline and control?
We errantly believe that discipline, if practiced long enough, will remove the desire to sin - our perceived barrier to the bliss we read about in Romans 8:15. For those of you who have struggled with addiction, you know how fruitless this grit-your-teeth-and-bear-it approach is.
I’d like to humbly submit this alternative approach to you: have an experience with God.
Let’s imagine you’re addicted to drinking toilet water - straight from the bowl.
That’s disgusting, right? You go to church, you get vulnerable in your church group, you tearfully confess your disgusting sin, and then, your pastor and Christian friends write your discipline prescription: don’t drink toilet water! Count how many days you go without toilet water in order to gauge how “healed” you are - and, if you do drink toilet water, make sure you once again confess your filthiness to your Christian friends. Most importantly: feel shame for your mistake…you dirty, rotten toilet-water-drinker, you.
…but hold on just a minute. Why would anyone want to drink toilet water in the first place?
It could be that you believe it’s the only source of water. If you really believed there was a superior alternative, you wouldn’t think twice about drinking straight from the bowl. Am I right?
Unfortunately, much of the church’s answer to toilet-water-drinking is discipline, but we know that from scripture, discipline does not bring about the righteous life God desires (see: Colossians 2:20-23). God’s answer to toilet-water-drinking is Perrier, La Croix, and Mendota Springs! The church responds to sin with restriction, but God says “indulge me!” In Psalms, David states, “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).
We were never meant to live lives riddled with discipline. Maybe discipline has a place if it comes from a motivation of love, but, honestly, I've only been taught how to do discipline from fear. We were simply meant to taste the superior and enjoy it! How? In *connection* with God. You can’t discipline yourself out of consuming the only life source you have - you’ll starve. You need a better beverage - you need a better source, not the discipline to not consume the inferior.
You need an experience with God.