By Darryll Davis
I’m not quite sure why, but when I think of discipline, I think of doing something I don’t want to do. “Just do it! Eat your carrots, celery, and cauliflower. They’re good for you—discipline yourself.”
Discipline and Love
As a minister of a new church plant, I get the opportunity to recontextualize the idea of “spiritual disciplines.” Don’t get me wrong. I understand fully the value of a disciplined life. Having served in the military, I’ve seen sincere, unwavering resolve in the faces of men and women in our country. Discipline has its place. I simply believe discipline is better positioned on the other side of love. Disciplined soldiers do their duty and give their lives out of a deep love for God and country.
Nearly 100 people gather weekly at Pathways Christian Church. In our first year we’ve seen an amazing kaleidoscope of ethnic diversity in our membership. We don’t try to be diverse; we just are. Discipline is not the focus; diversity is simply the norm. You don’t have to discipline yourself to be normal.
What if we simply loved carrots, celery, and cauliflower? What if we were never told certain things were “hard to swallow”? What if we discovered natural goodness by experience? At Pathways, diversity is naturally good. Prayer is not a “spiritual discipline.” Instead, we simply see God as good—good to talk to. At Pathways, Bible reading is not a duty; it’s an opportunity to read God’s autobiography and learn about his mercy, love, and unchanging grace.
At Pathways, we don’t “go out and witness.” We simply say, “Be a witness!” Let love and grace govern all you say and do, and Jesus will be seen. Stop working at being disciplined and simply “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:2, 5, 6).
Darryll Davis lives in Hamilton, Ohio with his wife Marie. Recently retired from the Cincinnati Police Department, he now serves as the lead minister at Pathways Christian Church.