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Discipline is Not a Bad Word

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes engages coaches and athletes to grow in their faith and sport.

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Discipline is Not a Bad Word

"Discipline is not what I do to you; it is what I do for you."


When did discipline become a bad word?  If a child does wrong, her parents will discipline her.  If a student has bad behavior at school, he will be disciplined by the principal.  In fact, discipline has become synonymous with punishment.  “I am the assistant principal in charge of discipline.”  Translation: I will deal with the kids who mess up and it is up to me to give them punishment as a consequence.


The dictionary I looked at has seven different definitions of discipline and only one deals with punishment.  All of the others involve activity to develop or improve a skill and training to act in accordance with rules.


Discipline is more than the bad stuff that happens after I make a wrong choice.  It is a positive exercise in my life that prevents some negative consequences.  On the other hand, I can choose to do what feels good and avoid the practice of discipline and end up with some unwanted results.


Athletes:  Your coaches are disciplining you and teaching you to discipline yourself so that you are prepared for the challenges ahead.  It is a good thing that grows you. 

Coaches:  As you encourage discipline in the lives of the athletes you coach, don’t overlook that the best lessons are caught not taught.  Model a disciplined life.

Christ Followers: Do you see the similarity in the words disciple and discipline?  Every disciple of Christ must practice discipline as we “train ourselves to be godly” (1 Timothy 4:7).  It is interesting to note that the word used for discipline in that verse in the original Greek is γυμνάζω (gymnazō) , from which we get the English word gymnasium.  Training, practice, discipline, work - all are required for success in sports and in life. 

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