I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Discipline is an ugly word to most people. However, it is the difference between being good at something and being great at something is often this simple word and concept. The person who want to be a great musician disciplines themselves to practice every day for hours a day so they can become great. Dreams without discipline are never fulfilled.
It is interesting to me in this passage that even though Paul has never actually been to this church that he praises them for the one thing they have – discipline. It is a discipline that has made them firm in their faith and it was so prevalent in their church that Paul had heard about it even though he had never seen or talked to them directly. That is quite a reputation and the result is strong faith.
Individually, discipline is what makes the difference between being a good Christian and being a great one. It is the regular prayer, meditation, reading, service and worship that forms and strengthens your faith. In a church, this is even more important on a level of getting out there and regularly evangelizing, teaching and worshiping that we become a church of strong faith. It is the discipline of doing these things that make a church great.