Make Your Bed and Practice Godly Discipline

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23

Estimated reading time: 4 min.

Do You Make Your Bed Every Morning?

Mr. Ames gave a forum presentation on discipline. He began by playing a six-minute video clip from Admiral McRaven’s famous commencement speech. This clip emphasized the importance of having the discipline to do the little things, the “insignificant” things, day after day. This kind of consistency is critical. After all, “if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed” (Admiral McRaven). Mr. Ames clarified that true Christians should take this seriously because we have the chance to help change the world one day, but we are going to need discipline to get there. 

Mr. Ames joined the army reserves as a young man, and even in basic training, they made the recruits make their bed every single morning. That lesson stuck, and Mr. Ames has been making his bed every morning for 64 years. Discipline in this area led to discipline in morning prayer, a necessity for growth as a Christian. In fact, discipline is not just for the military, but as Mr. Ames said, “it is an essential aspect of godly character!”

Practice Discipline in ALL Areas of Your Life

Mr. Ames explained that there are many facets of discipline. There is athletic discipline, displayed by all athletes who excel in their field. We ought to apply this in our life by making exercise a habit and sticking to it. There is discipline in the fine arts. Is it easy to practice an instrument daily for years and years or to slowly master oil painting? Of course not! It takes discipline. 

Mr. Ames also explained that we need business discipline. We can learn to avoid crises and prevent them through planning, strategizing, and executing consistently. Also, there is academic discipline. In fact, the term discipline is closely connected to academia. For instance, the phrase “academic discipline” refers to a subset of knowledge that is taught and researched at Universities. But, we must also exercise discipline in our education by being diligent and working ahead. Mr. Ames related a technique that can help overcome procrastination. He would tell himself, “I am going to work on this project for 5 minutes; that’s it.” This would break the ice, and make it easier to work on projects a little bit every day. 

We are also familiar with child-rearing discipline, which is teaching children to obey rules and codes of behavior through punishment for breaking them. But there is also another form of discipline. In fact, it is the most important form.

Spiritual Discipline 

Why is discipline necessary as a Christian? Mr. Ames explained with a quote by the author H. Jackson Brown (Jr.): “Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.” If we want to be moving forward and not backwards or sideways, we must have spiritual discipline. 

The Bible is not shy on this topic. Mr. Ames pointed out that God exercises child-rearing discipline on us (Hebrews 12:3-11), and we learn to control our actions and have discipline through God’s chastening. This is necessary because humans do not naturally direct their paths (Jeremiah 10:23) and must develop this control, this discipline. 

Mr. Ames explained that Paul explicitly affirms discipline. “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Mr. Ames further explained that the term “disciple” is closely connected to discipline. A disciple follows the teachings of a master. Discipline is the act of following rules or guidelines. Thus a disciple exercises discipline in following his master! 

Mr. Ames then pointed out that God’s spirit itself promotes discipline. “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (1 Timothy 1:7, NIV). This is explained in-depth in a sermon by Mr. Ames, The Gift of Discipline

Make Your Bed Every Morning

Mr. Ames gave the conclusion of his forum: Make your bed every morning. Discipline is clearly important, and this is a way to practice it and build it in our lives. It is a small task, but if we do it, we start the day with a task completed. Mr. Ames explained that God expects us to practice discipline and to recapture true values. He expects us to display godly love, godly service, and godly discipline.

Mr. Ames gave a forum recently about the true values of abundant living (spoiler alert: this forum also talks about the importance of discipline).

Kaleb Johnson is a student in the Living Education-Charlotte Program. He graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in the spring of 2022. In addition, Kaleb enjoys writing, video-making, trying new activities (anything and everything), playing chess, and debating (it’s not arguing!) with people. He currently works in the Living Education department producing written content & videos and helping with a variety of other projects.