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Jonathan Pokluda: The Key to Staying Disciplined

Jonathan Pokluda: The Key to Staying Disciplined

It’s common for us to say we want to do something, and even make a plan for it. But then life gets in the way, and we end up back where we started. No matter how much we want to do something, staying disciplined is often the most challenging part of achieving our goals.

You’re not alone in feeling this way — a Google search for “how to be disciplined” yields over 128,000,000 results. People everywhere are looking for guidance on how to stay disciplined.

In his book “Why I Do What I Don’t Want To Do?,” pastor and author Jonathan Pokluda explores this exact struggle. He explains that staying disciplined is a common topic in the Bible, and it’s not just about setting unattainable goals. Instead, it’s about God’s belief that his people can stay focused on him and the mission before them.

We spoke with Pokluda about how to stay disciplined (for real, this time) while managing realistic expectations for change.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

What are some key ways we can stay disciplined?

Yeah, so James 5:16 is a verse that I continually turn to. It says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective.” On the defense side of things, there’s confession, prayer, and repentance. We always say that repentance is like turning away from sin and turning to Christ. I believe that turning to Christ is where many people stumble.

If I’m stuck in pride and I find myself wondering what others think of me when I walk into a room or obsessing over the number of followers I have, seeking identity in external validation, or measuring myself by what I’m good at, then I need to ask myself, “What does it look like for me to live a humble life?” In Mark 10, Jesus says, “Those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them and exercise authority over them. But not so with you, my followers.” He goes on to say, “Whoever wants to be first must be last. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

As a Christian, which translates to “little Christ,” I am called to live as Christ lived. Philippians 2 tells us that even though Jesus was God, He did not consider equality with the Father something to be grasped. He humbled himself, making himself like a servant. That’s the example I follow. If I’m following Him, I can’t be prideful. Walking with Him leads me away from pride. Instead of merely trying to fight pride on the defensive, I need to play offense by striving to understand the humility that Christ calls me to.

We can apply the same approach to other areas of our lives, such as lust and self-control, entitlement and gratitude, and greed and generosity. The list goes on.

How do you balance grace with discipline?

Yeah, you know, you don’t want to be legalistic. Tozer once said, “The church will be at the height of her heresy when she labels obedience as legalism.” Scripture provides clear instructions that we must live by. There’s a generation — and I don’t intend to criticize generations; I’m passionate about the next generation. I’ve devoted my adult life to caring for, ministering to, and nurturing the next generation. I believe in them, and I believe that God has good plans for them. I hope they experience a revival, but currently, they are inclined towards self-care.

This generation is characterized by an emphasis on self-care. They face unprecedented levels of anxiety, depression, and suicidality, which makes focusing on self-care seem like a necessary course correction. However, this approach isn’t yielding the desired results.

Focusing solely on oneself is not the solution; it won’t lead us to where we need to be. While taking breaks, going to the gym, and attending to our needs are important, relying solely on these practices for long-term well-being is insufficient. It’s crucial to establish healthy habits and actively pursue a relationship with Jesus to find true fulfillment.

I believe that the self-care mindset has made us complacent and soft. If something is hard or challenging, we tend to shy away from it, assuming it’s wrong. However, the Scriptures encourage us to discipline ourselves for godliness, acknowledging that discipline can indeed be challenging. It requires effort and dedication, but it’s not just difficult; it’s necessary to foster godliness in our lives.

To hear more of our conversation with Jonathan Pokluda, check out The RELEVANT Podcast.

© 2023 RELEVANT Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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