Desire vs discipline-are the two mutually exclusive concepts? I suppose when I think of desire, I think of something fueled by it's own energy, unrestrained and spontaneous, like combustion, a perpetual fire that when turned to ash, cannot be resurrected. Discipline on the other hand, makes me think of self-generated effort, a strain, a struggle, a "have to or else" proposition, something I don't want to do.
I was thinking about it this morning. I am emotional without a doubt. Feelings crest and crash inside me like ocean waves, unending, sometimes calm, but usually like the surf. When I feel something, it's raging. I don't do placid very well. But something is definitely changing. It isn't spontaneous or self-generated. It's God revealed. The Spirit seemed to whisper to me this morning, "Discipline is directed desire". Hmmm. Never thought about that one. What a wonder to be able to harness the energy of my emotions and desire into a directed end. I suppose I've done that in the past to an extent, but burned out when the desire left.
There is a missing ingredient. Desire and discipline, when God appointed and directed, do reach an intended goal. I long to serve. I've come to have a great desire to do prison ministry. But I've had to work within the confines of the established system, and I have found that when I do that voluntarily, my desire has turned into a steadier, more constant flame. Relationships-wow, my Achilles' heel in this department. "If I don't feel anything anymore, it's dead". Well, the desire begs discipline, and when the impulse comes from God and His word, the ashes erupt again. But they have to be stirred. The Word does say, "Fan into flame your gift or calling". Real desire is an indication of something God-planted in a life, I believe, and of course, one needs to be very careful with this. I'm talking about desire that is not lust, as again the Word says to "flee youthful lusts". And sometimes obedience is out of sheer discipline, no emotions whatsoever. But I do believe they'll come.
I think God is the most passionate Being we'll ever encounter. It took passion to create humans and takes it continually to love us as He does, as disappointing as we can be. I'm finally grateful for my emotional self, as difficult as it can be to manage. When rightly directed, it's a blessing. I long to use them to serve and want to enjoy the fruits of passion. In discipline, of course!