Devotional

“But have nothing to do with irreverent folklore and silly myths. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness [keeping yourself spiritually fit].” — 1 Timothy 4:7 (AMP)   

As a Christian, you will experience pain. That is inevitable. But, in some cases – you can choose which pain you’ll experience. You can choose immediate gratification with no long term payoff or you can choose to have current pain for greater returns down the line.

Choosing the later requires discipline. Self-discipline is doing what you know you have to do to accomplish your goals whether you feel like it or not. It means reigning in your appetites, emotions, and inclinations to help you achieve something that’s farther down the line. Self discipline is part of just about every undertaking: It takes self-discipline to start a profitable business, to finish what you started, to honor the guardrails you set up in your life, to avoid temptation, to forgive people and to resist immediate gratification.

We need discipline but that doesn’t mean we always embrace it. Having discipline in your life can put a damper on your fun because most people would rather do what they feel like doing. While it may not be popular, ignoring it can result in disaster. Proverbs says 1:7 says, “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Proverbs 6:23 adds “For their command is a lamp and their instruction a light; their corrective discipline is the way to life.” The Book of Proverbs is an excellent book to guide us in the necessary disciplines for a fulfilling life. Proverbs 1:2 sets the stage:” Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise.”

Discipline is not a glamorous topic, but it certainly is critical to our everyday lives. The longer we fail to put needed disciplines in our life, the harder it is to do and the more that lack of discipline causes problems in our lives. Take a few moments to evaluate what areas in your life that you can use more discipline. Maybe it is something practical like you have a tendency to procrastinate. Or maybe it is being faithful whether in your personal or professional life. Maybe it is a unwillingness to forgive a relative or friend. Or maybe you are lacking the discipline of spending quality and quantity time with God each day. We think our lives are so full that we can’t possibly put another hour into the schedule. This discipline is so very needed in our lives. And it is discipline. 

Where is your discipline weak? In what areas are you dying for lack of discipline? The good news is that discipline can be learned.  Any one of us can be disciplined if we want to be and we go to God for strength and help. But it will take time. I want to encourage you not to give up easily, because new disciplines simply take time.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How can self-discipline help unlock God’s will for your life?
  2. Why is self-discipline needed?
  3. What can you do this week to improve your self-discipline in one area?