I must admit, I’m an Olympics junkie. I’ve simply concluded that I’m going to be sleep-deprived over the course of this two-week period when the world showcases the best athletes in their respected sport. It’s truly inspiring to watch and to hear their stories of how they got to this point in their lives.
Many of these athletes talk about the countless hours of practice and sacrifice that they and their families have made to make it to the Winter Games. They talk about the early morning workout sessions. They recall the deep study of technique. There is an emphasis on listening to a coach who helps them see aspects of their sport they have neglected.
It all boils down to discipline. Athlete after athlete speaks about the discipline required to eventually step up on that podium or to even finish the race with integrity. And we celebrate that discipline with them as we watch the Olympics and hear their stories.
What would it look like if we were determined for young adults to understand the discipline that it takes to be a fully devoted Christ-follower?
According to I Timothy 4:7, we are to discipline ourselves “for the purpose of godliness” (NASB).
Here are three things young adults need to know about discipleship:
1. There is purpose in being disciplined in discipleship.
I John 3:2-3 uses the phrase, “we will be like Him.” There is nothing more important in our walk with Jesus than to understand this truth: our study of the Word transforms us. When others see us, they see Jesus.
A disciplined life is going to be a life that notices the lonely. A disciplined is going to have a heart for the nations. A disciplined life is going to point others toward Jesus. This disciplined life of discipleship is for greater purposes than we could ever imagine on our own. A disciplined life in discipleship will have great purpose in God’s Kingdom.
2. There is power in a life of disciplined discipleship.
There are endless accounts of people who were transformed in the New Testament by the presence of Jesus in their lives. When Jesus came to them, they understood who He was, and their lives were completely changed. Think about Zaccheus, the woman caught in adultery, and the disciples—all lives who were completely transformed because of the power of the presence of Jesus.
When we are disciplined in our walk with Christ, He can completely transform our lives. Our thoughts change. Our motives are pure. Our purpose is greater.
Being disciplined in our walk with Christ invites the power of the Holy Spirit to change our hearts so that we reflect Jesus in all we do. And that’s a beautiful thing to see in the lives of young adults.
3. Disciplined discipleship calls for a life of community.
This walk with Jesus can’t be done alone. It calls for community. Young adults are hungry to learn from those who are a little further along the journey of life. The opportunity we have as young adult ministry leaders is significant as they are learning what it looks like to be a disciple of Christ.
Young adults need to hear what it looks like to discipline themselves “for the purpose of godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7) from those who are willing to invest in them and walk alongside them in this journey. There is something significant about knowing we are not on this journey alone. Disciplined discipleship values community and mentorship. Discipline is not always a fun concept, but it brings maturity and purpose. And for that, there is no gold medal that can even compare!
Mark Whitt is a collegiate minister with Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Connect with Mark via Twitter.