This morning my thoughts continue another day on self-discipline as we go to what Jesus taught in the Bible. After saying, “…make disciples of all nations…” Jesus concluded by defining what was to be taught to these disciples: “all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 8:19-20).
The Disciples of Christ are to follow His word, and their teachers are to impose His commandments. The rules we are to follow are the scriptural rules which make us adequate, equipped for every good work and we need no addition (2 Timothy 3:14-17).
The love of God and Christ, the mark of a true disciple, is to “keep his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).
Is self-discipline really that important? I think it is. We are to pattern our life after Christ, a life of self-discipline.
The followers of Christ in the Bible, all had disciplined their lives and insisted upon the need for this; and obviously it is something that is thoroughly scriptural and absolutely essential.
There is a prize at the end of this life to win and we must finish this race here on Earth to receive that prize. It will take both spiritual and physical discipline to win and receive that prize.
A self-disciplined life will begin with knowing Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Christ in us and the work of the Holy Spirit changes us to want to live a disciplined life. A new life, a new beginning, a fresh start. A life of obedience in His Word.
One of the greatest examples of a self-disciplined life was Apostle Paul.
- 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NKJV) Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
“Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” Paul interjected this like a coach urging a runner on to victory. Life is not a sprint; it’s a long distance race.
What does it take to be a winner? “And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things” And the word used for “temperate” isegkrateuomai, to exercise self-restraint.
Spiritual growth is the result of developing Godly habits: that of Bible study, prayer, sharing the Gospel and what God is doing in your own life, including fellowship with other believers.
We must schedule these things until they become habits. Discipline not only involves goal setting, developing good habits but also endurance.
Discipline is from the Greek word, hupopiazo, which means to “bruise the face under the eyes” or to buffet. In the Greek “to bring the body into subjection” literally means making it my slave.”
We must control our bodies and make them serve us, not let them control us. This is not a onetime battle, daily, you must have endurance. Our bodies cry out for their rights.
Most believers are slaves to their bodies. Their bodies tell their minds what to do. Their bodies decide when to eat, what to eat, how much to eat, when to sleep and get up, and so on.
Failing to endure under pressure shows how limited one’s strength is. “Let’s quit” are household words because we are desperately lacking in discipline and endurance.
If you are living your life in your own strength, you are sure to fail.
Self-discipline or self-control is a virtue of the fruit of the Spirit and is manifest in our lives as we live in dependence on the Lord.
- Galatians 5:22 – 23 (NLT) But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
We can endure when we are trusting in Him. Paul put it this way:
- Philippians 4:13 (NLT) For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Do you see yourself as a Christian athlete who is striving in the race of life in order to glorify God? Too many of us are spectators who need to get out of the stands and in the race.
- Are you a disciplined believer?
- Are you denying yourself for the advancement of the kingdom? Apart from self-discipline, we will never accomplish much in this life.
- Are you disciplined to live a godly life for advancing the cause of Christ?
As always, love in Christ Jesus,