I have been going through a book with my mentor called Handbook to Leadership – Leadership in the Image of God. In the book it talks about many different forms of development – personal, skill and relational development. Each section has subsections where it talks about specific traits to go along with that subsection. For example, with Humility – it breaks it down each day with “Humility and who God is”, “Humility and who I am”, “Humility and how I think”, “what I do”, etc.
One of the sections that has really stood out to me is the section on self-discipline. Before we get into that, read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
“24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
Many people want self-discipline but struggle to achieve it. The world tell us to exercise regularly, choose healthy foods, drink lots of water and get adequate sleep. All of these things take self-discipline.
Though there are advantages to personal discipline – gives us a sense of purpose, accomplishment, maybe make us feel less stressed and could improve our overall health – Paul contends in 1 Corinthians it shouldn’t be the main goal in our lives.
Paul says that “bodily discipline is only of little profit” because it’s strictly for this life. What the apostle finds far more valuable is self-discipline for godliness because it holds promise for the present life and life to come.
There is another story in Timothy – reading from 2 Timothy 1:7-8:
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.”
Because of Timothy’s natural inclination to be timid, Paul encouraged Timothy to be bold and fill him with assurance in his position of Spiritual leadership. Paul commission Timothy to oversee many of the churches in the Roman province of Asia – a task that required a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline.
Self-discipline is needed to stretch us beyond our own comfort zones.
Paul listed the Fruits of the Spirit in Galatians and in the book, Handbook to Leadership, it says that anyone can exercise self-control, but the fullest expression of self-control is a part of the spiritual fruit that only the Holy Spirit can produce in us. It’s not easy, but God’s spirit is the power source behind self-discipline that Timothy found.
In order to feel that feel that Godly spirit in us, Paul contends that we must make reading, studying and meditating on Scripture a priority. Again, Paul said that “bodily discipline is only of little profit” because it’s strictly for this life. What the apostle finds far more valuable is self-discipline for godliness because it holds promise for the present life and life to come.