Sona knows the freedom Christ has given him should not become a pretext for living a Christian life the way he wants to according to his ever-popping impulses and desires, which are not necessarily in accord with the purposes of God for his life. We do not impose discipline on ourselves for its own sake. We do so to love God and love our neighbour supremely.
We begin a life of discipleship with the assurance of salvation by the grace of God through faith in Christ Jesus to do good works (Eph. 2:8-9). The foremost blessing of Christian discipleship Jesus said is: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Jesus calls for self-sacrificial love to follow him. It’s death to our selfish ways with an absolute surrender to God. It’s giving up our wayward hopes, dreams, and possessions for the flourishing of our life of discipleship.
We learn to walk in step with the Spirit guiding us as our listening is tuned to hearing God speak. We show this by bearing the burdens of others. It may also involve accepting minor hurts that others bring our way so we can share corporately in the sufferings of Christ.
This has to be the foundation of spiritual living; spiritual discipline to take it up is a joy. Do you remember when Jesus spoke to Saul on the road to Damascus when he was going to persecute Christians? Christ encountered him and said: “Why are you persecuting me.” That’s encouraging; when a disciple suffers, Christ suffers with him. Christ is with us in our suffering. We are not alone; Jesus is with us. God has promised: “I would never leave you nor forsake you” (Deut. 31:6). When we are going through tough times, always ask: God, what are you trying to teach me? It’s a joy to experience the fullness of life as we take up our cross and follow Christ!