Why Delight Must Come Before Discipline


Psalm 1:1–6 (NIV)

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.


How does one sow the Word of God in their heart and mind?

I am so glad you asked. In my considered judgment, nothing is more critical than this question. If we do not deliberately and consistently plant the Word in the fields of our hearts and minds we will be left with soil and then weeds. Without source and substance we will be left with the thin sentiment of our own sincerity. And sincerity without substance, my friends, along with a dollar will get you a senior coffee at McDonalds. Sincerity without substance is like icing without cake.1

How does one sow the Word of God in their heart and mind?

Blessed is the one . . . whose delight is in the [Word] of the Lord,

and who meditates on his [Word] day and night.

Here is a great truth. Duty and discipline do not produce delight. The opposite is true. Those first disciples did not become disciples because of their dutiful, disciplined dedication to the Word of God. No, it was their delight in this person, Jesus of Nazareth, that led them to leave behind the building projects of their former lives and abandon themselves to him—who alone has the words of eternal life.2

In other words, it starts with Jesus of Nazareth, the Word made flesh, who by the Holy Spirit teaches and trains us through the inspired Word of Holy Scripture which in turn increases our delight, unleashing our devotion, becoming, in time, a life of flourishing fruitfulness.3

The order of this cannot be overemphasized. Remember what Jesus said to the most sincere, scripturally dedicated people of his time:

You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (John 5:39–40)

It begins with the Word, Jesus Messiah, or it never begins. He leads us into the Scriptures and the Scriptures lead us to an ever fuller, abiding relationship with him and on this way he introduces us to his Father and ours—who with him fills us with the Holy Spirit and on we go.

None of this is complicated. It is comprehensive and it does have some complexity to it. These are the incomprehensible mysteries of God we speak of. And I promise we are getting to meditation. We had to cover delight first. This is not an invitation to study but to surrender.

Wake up, sleeper! Rise from the dead! Jesus is shining, and he delights to shine on and in and through you.


Farmer Father God, thank you for the Word who was with you from before the beginning whose name is Jesus. Jesus, you are our delight and yet we long to delight in you more. Would you fill us with your Spirit to this end, that our delight in you might become pure and powerful with the potency of divine love. We know this is the way to “on earth as it is in heaven.” Praying in Jesus’s name, amen.


Would you say your walk with God is more characterized by discipline and duty or more by delight? How do you respond to the claim that discipline and duty are the fruit of delight rather than the other way around?

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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1. This is my concern with contemporary worship culture. These meetings are filled with sentiment and heart-felt sincerity and yet devoid of the substance of the Word of God. Our confidence subtly shifts from the anchors of Word and Spirit to worship leaders and speakers. I fear we are slowly trading in the power of God for a sincere expression of piety as the measure of our gatherings.

2. John 6 unfolds in a stunning fashion this interplay “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. ‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God'” (John 6:66–69).

3. The clarity of this opening text from the letter to the Hebrews is an absolute marvel to me. I am ruminating and remembering it now. “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven” (Hebrews 1:1–3). Many churches these days produce what is called a “Bumper” (a short media clip setting up the sermon series played just before the preacher comes on). For my money, this is the “Bumper of all bumpers.” I am considering speaking this word prior to the rest of the sermons I am ever privileged to preach.

P. S.

We have another one of our awakening essentials courses coming very soon. It’s about Sabbath Keeping. Dan Wilt and I will be leading along with some other special guests. I will be following on the three week course with a few practicum sessions to hone in on how Sabbath was meant to work. Trust me when I tell you Sabbath is very different than what we have mostly thought it to be. The biblical roots go back to Genesis 1 and pervade through the whole Bible. It is just not about being quiet on Sunday and shutting down commerce. The approach Jesus takes to Sabbath (like just about everything else) is mind-blowingly profound and life-changing. I’m asking you to consider it again if you haven’t already registered. You will be glad you did! Register here.


Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.


  1. JD, my answers to your questions are in my opinion contained in one of your own statements: “This is not an invitation to study but to surrender “. That says it all for me

  2. When I woke up this morning, these words were on my mind. When I read today’s Wake-Up Call questions, they seemed to answer them:

    True Christianity is more
    Than religious information.
    It’s glorious proclamation,
    Powerful demonstration,
    And joyous celebration.

    (Now that’s delight! For more delight, google: The Joy Of Early Christianity.)

  3. John 1:1-4
    In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. THROUGH Him, all things were made; without Him, nothing was made that has been made. IN Him was life and that light was the light of all mankind.
    Jesus is the source of all life. Without Him coming alive in us, we are unaware, unconscious, unsuspecting, blind, and deaf walking zombies; breathing, but dead.
    Learning to become like the Holy One.