Voyage of a Disciplined Life

Voyage of a Disciplined Life

    There are dozens of leadership books filling the market today. Consequently, I have found that many of them offer a recipe of success that only leaves a bland taste in the followers mouth. However, Dr. John MacArthur's book on biblical leadership has really struck me, and he said something that should seize any leaders attention. He writes,

    Naturally gifted people sometimes find it hard to maintain discipline. The musician who has superior skill might perform well without a lot of practice. The talented athlete might play well without working as hard as his teammates. An artist with extraordinary abilities might not have to work very hard to excel. For that reason, some of the most talented individuals in the world are also the most undisciplined. We frequently see shocking evidence of this in the lifestyles of celebrities and sports heroes.[1]

    Leaders undisciplined? Don't read over that too fast without looking at your own life. I am asking that you not look critically at other leaders, but look critically at yourself. Take a moment to examine where you are at in this stage of your leadership. After taking a hard look at myself, I began to look at our staff and leaders where I pastor, and immediately I see an abundance of talented people. However, after reading MacArthur's observation, I began asking myself a series of questions, "How disciplined are we as leader within the church? Do we honestly and earnestly pray for one another, or do we only say that we will? Do we excel in being and doing our very best for the people of Parkway and our community, or do we just limp along to get by?" MacArthur goes further to explain,

    "Many people do attain a degree of prominence on the strength of sheer natural talent alone. But the real, influential leaders are the ones who devote themselves to personal discipline and make the most of their gifts. Those who utterly lack self-control will invariably fail, and they forfeit the example of integrity so essential to the best kind of true leadership."[2]

    Since you are reading this, I am challenging you to a life of spiritual discipline. This is the very area of my life that I am asking God to work on. I am truly wanting to be all that I can be for the Lord. However, I know that I cannot do it without the Lord's help in my life. Leaders should keep one another accountable to a disciplined lifestyle in ministry. The leader cannot afford to forfeit their example of integrity, but rather should strive to model it. Doing so, will allow the next generation to have a historical record of spiritual integrity to measure church leadership by. Paul emphasized this truth in his preaching when he told the Corinthian believers,

    "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

    The word "castaway" is the Greek word, {adokimos} which carries the idea of being "disapproved." Paul did not want to be disapproved by the Lord, so he disciplined his life in order to be the leader God wanted him to be. Paul knew that when character was absent in the heart—compromise and corruption would surface. Leaders must keep in mind that Satan's strategy is not to destroy believers from off the earth, but to disgrace them while they are here. Character is indispensable to credibility, and credibility is essential to leadership. Without credibility one will be hard pressed to lead others. So let's decide right now not to be castaways; let's cast off and set our sails for a voyage of a disciplined life.


    Missional Until He Comes,

    Dr. David L. Sampson

    Psalms 96:3

                [1] MacArthur, J. (2004). The book on leadership: The power of a godly influence (143–145). Nashville, TN: T. Nelson Publishers.

                [2] Ibid., (146).