The Disciplined Life

Tonight I picked up a book that I have left far too long on the shelf…I read it (or at least part of it) once years ago, but have since seemed to let much of it slip away, and for awhile now have sensed a growing need to pick it up, dust it off, and read it again. It’s a small book called “The Disciplined Life” by Richard S. Taylor, and was originally penned in 1962. And it’s not a fun book to read – for one like me, at least. One who needs it. It hurts to read! I found myself almost grimacing as I picked it up and began reading it, because it points out SO many things that I struggle with (which I’m sure my husband and others can attest to!), particularly in the area of basic self-discipline (as I’m sure you could gather from the title) — comprised by those seemingly simple things such as promptness, good speech, tidiness, and the like. Things that initially seem so minor, but when lacking can add up devastatingly quickly and can really hinder one’s ability to “make the most of every opportunity” for Christ. Reading this book is sort of like getting a stern lecture from someone — in book form —after you know you’ve done something wrong. It sure stings (in my case with embarrassement at the reality of how undisciplined I’ve been in so many silly ways over the years!) – but you know it’s for your own good, and it inspires you to start making some changes.

A few quotes from the book:
“Much of our restlessness and instability can be traced to this basic fault in modern character [hard core aversion to restraint and control]. Our overflowing asylums and hospitals and jails are but symptoms of an undisciplined age. There may be many secondary causes, and there may be many secondary cures, but somewhere behind them all is the need for discipline…”

“The edge possessed by the disciplined over the undisciplined shows up in many little things. The disciplined person picks up his clothes, the undisciplined lets them lie. One washes the bathtub after himself; the other leaves the highwater mark for someone else to scrub. One plans his work and works to his plan; the other works haphazardly. One his habitually prompt in his appointments; the other is notoriously tardy. Some people are always on time at church, while others never are. Observers of many years’ experience will support the claim that the difference cannot be explained in the greater distance to travel or larger families to hustle. The difference is habit, and habit is character.”

Does any of this resonate with anyone else?

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2 responses to “The Disciplined Life

  1. Habit it character – I never thought of it like that but it makes sense. I pray I change my habits so my character is intact for God. Thanks for showing me some insight! Great blog!
    PS. I miss you and hope all is well!

  2. I’m reading this book right now, and as a former Marine, I thought I had the discipline thing down pat. Little did I know how God was going to show me how futile my efforts of discipline really were.

    I especially like the quotes from former leaders. It’s unbelievable that in such few words this small book can change your way of thinking forever. My pastor has read it three times and he recommended it to the church…what an impact!

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