As we near the close of Black History Month, I was reminded of the speech Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered at the March on Washington August 28, 1963 where he told the world about his dream. A wonderful and marvelous speech that challenged this country and the world. As I thought about that speech and reflected on my morning devotional period, I was led to a single word; “discipline.”


Merriam Webster defines “discipline” as control that is gained by requiring that rules or orders be obeyed and punishing bad behavior; a way of behaving that shows a willingness to obey rules or orders; behavior that is judged by how well it follows a set of rules or orders.


Nothing worthwhile comes quickly; and nothing comes quickly that is worthwhile. Worthwhile things takes time to manifest, and manifestation of worthwhile things takes discipline. So many times we get caught in the web of immediacy, wanting our dreams to come true before we even wake up. The problem we face is that dreams can’t come true if we’re sleeping. We’ve got to wake up, then get up, then get to work to make our dreams reality.


When we are disciplined by others, it often feels like punishment, but it helps to lead us in the right direction. Proverbs 10:17 says “People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore correction will go astray” (NLT). However, when we discipline ourselves, it reveals our character. Self-discipline shows up in our efforts, it shows up in our thoughts, in our speech, in our relationships, and in everything that we do.


Discipline shows up in the small things that we do. It shows up as the secret ingredient of every success. It reveals the commitments we have in life. It will develop into habits that will cultivate our imagination that will make us work to make our dreams come true.


If there was a flip side to discipline, it would be “commitment.” Again, using Merriam Webster to define the word, we find it described as an agreement or pledge to do something in the future; something pledged: the state or an instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled; a commitment to a cause. In order for a dream to manifest into reality, committed discipline is required. Desire, visualization, work, actualization. There are no instant successes. It may seem so, but that’s only because you didn’t see all the disciplined commitment that was happening behind the scenes.

Dr. King’s dream may not be completely realized yet, but we are much closer than we were on August 28, 1963, and through continued disciplined commitment, we will get there!

Your dream may not yet be reality, but with disciplined commitment, it will!

“To learn, you must love discipline..,” (Proverbs 12:1 NLT)

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell, BS, MDiv, is an associate minister at both Goodwill Baptist and Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx.

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