Major League Spring Training, College games, and high school practices all begin this week. Soon, youth leagues will be in full swing. From top to bottom, players will attempt to improve and enjoy the game. Interestingly, both improvement and enjoyment require one indispensable factor: discipline.
Baseball is a game of discipline. In practice to do the little things well. At the plate to lay off a borderline pitch. In the field to be in position. On the mound to hit spots. Discipline is something I try to impress upon my young son. We watch the Big Leaguers and I talk incessantly about how their discipline has benefited them.
I’ve never seen a lazy and undisciplined player reach high levels of sustained success. Sure, he may excel for a time, but his habits will be his undoing at some point. I’ve played with guys like that, coached guys like that, and watched guys like that. Talent and raw ability only go so far. Discipline is required to reach the highest pinnacles of success.
Because discipline is the key to unlocking potential. It is the key to freedom, actually. Anyone who wants to be free to do something well must enter a program of extreme discipline. Avoiding discipline brings slavery to bad habits, which produces poor results. Discipline brings freedom to excel.
Baseball mirrors life here. “A slothful man does not roast his prey, but the precious possession of a man is diligence” (Proverbs 12:27 NASB). Did you catch that? Laziness and undisciplined living leads to failure, but diligence brings things that are valuable. As in baseball, so it is with life. Diligence and discipline are the keys to becoming the person God has called you to be. Through faithful and consistent interaction with God in His Word and through prayer, you and I are molded and shaped to be like Jesus. Such a life comes through no path but that of spiritual disciplines.
Dear Lord, take my laziness and my undisciplined living. I confess them as sin to you. Change me. Give me a disciplined heart and a willingness to follow you diligently. Make me the person (and the baseball player) you have called me to be. Amen.