Bottom of the 9th - Well-Coached #4, Discipline
Well-Coached Series #4, Discipline
by Keith Wahl
"For the Lord disciplines the one he loves..." (Hebrews 12:6)
Plate discipline is generally valued by coaches and hitters in the game. Swinging at the right pitches and letting the wrong pitches go by shows the hitter is in control of the process at the plate.According to fivethirtyeight.com, the 2002 season posted by Moises Alou of the Chicago Cubs is ranked as the top season in available FanGraphs data when looking at making the "correct" decision at the plate. He saw a total of 1,785 pitches - 973 strikes, 812 balls. Alou swung at 779 of the available strikes and took 692 balls giving him a "Good Decision" rate of 82.4%. Ironically, it was one of Alou's weakest offensive seasons.
Discipline in life can actually be paradoxical when applied to the Christian life as well. In the West, we tend to lean on the American ideal of "pulling one's self up by his bootstraps." We are encouraged to blaze our own trail and create our own success. Does this kind of discipline fit with the life of Christ?
Christian author Carl Medearis says this about the apostle Paul in his book, Speaking of Jesus:
"Perhaps we're attracted to Paul because he looks successful, and we in the West worship success. I think this is ground zero for most Christians. We think that if it's not successful, it's not real. We think that if we don't succeed we're invalid. We don't count.
This is ironic because, as time went on, Paul began to refer to himself more negatively. He went from calling himself an apostle to the very worst sinner ever. It's almost like he discovered more and more each day that his contribution to the world was insignificant. And yet in his core he realized that Jesus' contribution was more than enough."
When we lean on our own discipline, we begin to trust our own flesh instead of leaning into and trusting Jesus. Salvation is work completed by Jesus so that "we may not boast" (Ephesians 2:9) and invites us to come to the Lord in "weakness and fear, and much trembling" (1 Corinthians 2:1-3).
So what kind of discipline will allow us to bear fruit? When we seek to discipline our daily lives to be used as a part of God's mission, we will bear long-term, Kingdom fruit. God is all about His mission in this world, and seeking to share the message of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ, will provide our lives with meaning and purpose. The world throws us a lot of bad pitches - let them go by. Swing with purpose when it comes to sharing the message of Jesus Christ to everyone in this world.