What is the distinction between doctrine and discipline and why is each important? How does doctrine shape your spiritual journey? How do spiritual disciplines shape your spiritual journey?
Here was my answer:
Doctrine is the set of beliefs that the church holds as true. Doctrine is essential because it lays out the truth we are to believe about God, man, sin, and salvation. Our worldview is shaped by the doctrines that we hold.
While doctrine is concerned with right teaching, discipline is concerned with right living. Correct doctrine has little value if it is not accompanied by godly living. One of my fundamental beliefs in life is: Christians are to show the world that there is a better way to live.
Doctrine shapes my spiritual journey because it influences my worldview. My political views, what I believe about marriage and family, my views on war, and even what I believe about the value of the individual comes from the doctrine that I hold as true.
Discipline shapes my spiritual journey because it provides the parameters or boundaries for my life and the choices that I make. It tells me that in order to follow Jesus there are certain things that I need to do, like repent and live with humility, and there are certain things I can’t do, like gossip and hate my neighbor.
The question then arises: How can I live consistently within the discipline?
We know will power alone is not going to be enough. This is where the spiritual disciplines come into play. The disciplines open our lives up to the work of the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to live the life God created us to live.