I Choose – Discipline Over Regret
Who do we want to be tomorrow? The answer to that question is dependent upon the choices we make today. Our choices matter. In this series, we’ll take a look at what I believe are the most significant choices we’ll make in life. They’re not about who we’ll marry, or where we’ll live, or what type of work we’ll do, but about those basic choices we all have to make that are core to the values we espouse in life. That is the purpose behind the “I Choose” series. In this week’s message, we look at discipline over regret.
Bottom Line: Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.
Something To Talk About:
Discipline over regret is the choice we face in many areas of our life. When it comes to our diet, we can choose the pain of giving up things we want to eat now or the pain of diabetes and heart disease later in life. When it comes to exercise we can choose the pain of giving up time and feeling the burn now or we can experience the pain that comes when our body breaks down physically and we aren’t able to enjoy mobility in the years to come. In relationships we can live with the pain of going slow and making Godly decisions as we date, or we can experience the pain of regret when a relationship comes to an end or when we find the right person but look back on all the mistakes we made along the way. There are real consequences when we give in to what we want today instead of holding out for what we want most, so we need to weigh the pain of discipline versus the pain of regret. Do we choose the pain of discipline or the pain of regret?
- What do you want most? In all our decisions and in all areas of life we need to ask ourselves what we want most, which goes back to knowing our purpose and the ability to see beyond today. So in all the different areas of life, what do we want most? What do we want most when it comes to our faith? Do we want to live like Jesus and walk hand in hand with God through life? If this is what we want, it is important to keep this vision of our lives and faith in front of us. What do we want most when it comes to our families? Do we want a strong marriage that can endure through the years so we can handle the storms of life together? Do we want children who are strong and wise? Do we want children and grandchildren to know God and have a strong faith and trust in Christ? What do we want most when it comes to our finances? Do we want to live without the constant burden of debt, or in fear of the future and how we will care for our needs? Do we want to experience financial freedom and the joy of giving away our money in ways that bless God and others? Before we can choose discipline today, we have to focus on what it is we want most because that is what gives us the motivation to even think about the pain of discipline.
- What do you need to choose now to achieve what you want most? Once we can focus on what we want most, we then need to ask the hard question: What do I need to choose now in order to achieve what I want most? This is where we have to tell ourselves that while choosing discipline will come with pain, the pain will be less costly than the pain of regret and the consequences that will come in the future if we give in to what is easy. When it comes to our faith, what do we need to choose now in order to achieve what we want most? It might start by turning off the TV, getting off Facebook and spending that time reading God’s word or talking with God in prayer. When it comes to our families, what do we need to choose now in order to achieve what we want most? It might be sacrificing some of our activities to make sure we are spending quality time with our spouse and children. It might be deciding as a family to cut down on all of our activities so that the family can spend time together. When it comes to our finances, what do we need to choose now in order to achieve what we want most? If what we want most is to be free from the burden of debt, then we need to get guidance on how to get out of debt. We need to live below our means so we can pay off our credit cards. If what we want most is a good retirement, or money to help our children through school, then we might need to rethink all our spending so we can find ways to save and invest. At some point in time, we all have to choose how we are going to live our lives today. Will we choose the pain of discipline now or the pain of regret in the future? If we do not chose discipline today and start something new and move in a new direction today, then it might very well be the biggest regret we will have tomorrow.
- What do you want most in life?
- Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most. How does that statement play out in your own life?
- In the following areas of life, identify what you want most and why. (1) faith, (2) family, (3) finances, and (4) future.
- In each of these areas, what do you need to choose now to achieve what you want most? (1) faith, (2) family, (3) finances, and (4) future.
- Why do you think our actions tend to favor the pain of regret over the pain of discipline?
- What are some areas in your life where you feel you lack discipline? What will your life look like in five years if you don’t make changes?
- Share a story of when you were able to choose discipline over regret. What worked for you?
- What would you need to do differently now to achieve the thing you want most?
Take one thing home with you:
To help us bring clarity to this choice of discipline over regret, let’s look at a familiar passage of scripture in Luke 22:39-44. The night before Jesus was crucified, He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Jesus knew that Judas was coming to betray him, He knew He would be handed over to the religious and political leaders who would condemn Him and He knew that dying on the cross was just a few hours away. And yet Jesus really did have a choice that night. The choice for Jesus was so clear and so tempting. He could choose discipline and stay in the garden and be handed over to die in that city the next day, or he could walk away. Literally just walk away. But walking away was not part of God’s will, God’s purpose. If Jesus walked away, He would be choosing what He wanted (to avoid the torture and agony ) over what He wanted most (to be faithful with God His father).
There would be pain in being faithful to God but there would be greater pain in not being faithful. Jesus was making the choice that night between what He wanted now and what He wanted most. It was not an easy decision. The Bible says, “He prayed more fervently, and He was in such agony of spirit that His sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.” What Jesus shows us is that this is never an easy choice. There is always a pull, a very strong pull, to live the way that we want to live and the way that is easy and comfortable now. In so many areas of our life, we are faced with the choice of discipline or regret. What we want now or what we want most. Choose the pain of discipline over the pain of regret.