Our society today is suffering from a lot of problems that emanate from lack of self-discipline. For example, our prisons are overflowing, the hospitals are overfull, we have school and university dropouts and businesses are closing down. Sin entered human race because man was enticed to do what he knew was against, a clear instruction from God. He had a choice to say “yes” to God’s instruction, or, to follow the desires of the flesh. Repeatedly we find ourselves in a position of making choices, “do it or not, say it or not”. Our lives are built around these choices. Our choices will be influenced by the stuff we are made of inside. To keep our feet on the right track, it takes self-discipline.
Self-discipline is defined as the ability to do what is right even if you do not feel like doing it. Self-discipline asks that we endure frustration, disappointment, and pain in the service of a higher goal. Self-control, strength of mind and willpower are some of the words used for self-discipline. Self-discipline is like a muscle. The more you train it, the stronger you become. The less you train it, the weaker you become.
Apostle Paul explains it this way in the book of 1 Corinthians 9: 25 – 27, all athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win . . . (NLT). When you start to practice there will be lot of discomfort and pain, but, he continues to say in verse 26, “I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step”. Again in verse 27 he says “l discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should”. You can be talented in any sport, but, if you are not going to practice you will be outperformed by less talented athletes because they give themselves to the demands of the game.
The number one cause of failure or underperforming is lack of self-discipline. Ask any ‘A’ student how much time he puts in his studies. Waking up early in the morning and sleeping late at night busy studying and revising keeps that student in top position. Some people go from one Dietitian to the other for a better programme to lose weight and they say it does not work. Why? When the body starts to feel the squeeze, they quickly give up. Paul said “I discipline my body”, and “I run straight to the goal with a purpose in every step”. Concentrating on the rewards or purpose will help us to fix our minds on the goal.
Our Lord Jesus practiced self-discipline also when he fasted for forty days. The bible says he was very hungry, Luke 4: 2. During these forty days the devil tempted him with the very things that his body needed, but, he did not give in. Luke 5: 16 tell us that “he often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer”, Luke 6: 12 . . . he prayed to God all night. Even when he was near a point of death he was still disciplined, Luke 22: 42 – 44 . . . I want your will, not mine. Jesus had to be disciplined in order for him to accomplish what he was sent to do. His body was fighting against taking the pain, but, the goal/reward/purpose was too great to just surrender. Today we are enjoying the benefits of the pain he endured at the cross.
In conclusion, I would like to emphasise few things:
- In order for one to have self-discipline there must be a purpose (What do you want to achieve?).
- Have a realistic plan of action and set time limits.
- Do not procrastinate. Do what you have to do even when you do not feel like doing it.
- Motivate yourself, focus on the goal, and follow the plan all the time because eventually it will produce the results.
Live under self-set rules and operate without supervision.
- Your speech and thoughts must correspond with your actions.
Our bodies are our vessels that need to be trained. The results of lack of self-discipline are destructive to human race and they can be avoided by giving our lives to Jesus Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. One must make a conscious decision to do what should be done and do it.
To God be the glory!