But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! (Romans 5:8-10)
There are two signs that you’ve crossed over to the dark side of discipline. Last week, we looked at the first: a failure to extend grace to those who are less disciplined than you. Here’s the second sign: a failure to extend grace to yourself.
I can be hard on myself if I fail to complete my to-do list, get my kids to bed on time, or accurately estimate how long it will take to complete a project. But just as the gospel helps me extend grace to others, it is also the key to extending grace to myself. Let me explain.
We talk a lot here on The Word Before Work about how the gospel compels us to be ambitious for and disciplined in our work. But there’s a flipside to that coin. The gospel is also our source of rest. How? Because the gospel assures you that God adores you even on your most undisciplined day!
Every night as I put my young kids to bed, I say, “Hey girls, do you know daddy loves you no matter how many bad things you do?” They nod their heads. Then I ask, “You know I also love you no matter how many good things you do?” They nod again. Then I say, “Who else loves you like that?” and they reply, “Jesus.”
You and I need to hear those same words spoken over our work today. If you believe that Christ died for you while you were his enemy (see Romans 5), surely you can believe that he’ll love you if you don’t finish today’s to-do list.
I want to close this series with the same Scripture I started with. In 1 Corinthians 9:25, Paul said, “Everyone who goes in for athletics exercises self-discipline in everything. They do it to gain a crown that perishes; we do it for an imperishable one.” (NTE)
Our crown is imperishable, believer. True, it may have more or less jewels in it based on how we steward this life. But our entrance into God’s kingdom—our position as princes and princesses—is secure forever.
May that security lead us, like Paul, to embrace “self-discipline in everything,” while avoiding the dark side of discipline. As we start this New Year, may we be a people who are purposeful, present, and wildly productive on behalf of our King.