Discipline is a word that many may frown upon. However, without it, there would be chaos in the world. Why is discipline important? That is a question this article will answer.
Why is Discipline Important?
If we desire to be our best, do our best, and live a fulfilling life, there is a price to pay. Although the Christian life is not easy, it is still the best life to lead. Self-discipline is the key to living such a life.
The reason life today, in general, is so chaotic is because of the lack of self-discipline. It is the reason why prisons are so full; students drop out of school because they are not disciplined enough to run the course. It is the reason individuals get into debt because they lack the discipline to avoid yielding to the temptation to covet more and more; they want something better, bigger, or just keeping up with the Jones, their neighbors.
Self-discipline is vital to living the Christian life. Let’s look at Scriptural confirmation of this in 1 Cor. 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 a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.
27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. NIV
The passage addresses the Christian life by using the metaphor of a race and that we should approach this race with the intention of winning because winning is the only way to obtain the prize. Therefore, we should live our lives in a way that we win the prize of eternal life, the crown that will “last forever” (vss. 24 & 25).
In light of this, we are not to live our lives aimlessly, but we are to fulfill His will and accomplish what He has promised us (vs. 26).
To accomplish the goal and win the prize, we must exercise self-control in all things, all aspects of our lives.
Why is self Discipline Necessary
Self-discipline is necessary because it is better for us to exercise discipline on ourselves than to be disciplined by somebody else, namely God. Additionally, God calls us to a life of holiness and discipline.
1 Peter 1:14-16
14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;
16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” NIV
We must not allow the world to draw us back into the mold we used to be contained in, living in ignorance. Instead, we should be holy. Not that we should be sinless, but have a heart for God in that we desire to please Him, be committed to Him, bringing everything into control, every desire by the power of the Holy Spirit so that we may live a godly life that is pleasing to Him.
Understand that we are confronted daily with a three-fold enemy, the world, the flesh, and the devil. The world system in which we live is opposed to the Christian life and the flesh—our naturalness and the desires that we have must be brought under control, or they enslave us (e.g., drugs, sex, and appetite).
Our sins are forgiven when we are born again and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. However, we are not removed from sin. Therefore, we can still be enticed by the things that war against our souls.
1 Peter 2:11 reads, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
Only the Holy Spirit can help us resist and bring the things that war against us under control and resist enslavement.
Understand that if we do not accept Jesus, we are enslaved by something—doubt, unbelief, or some desire that we would have to lie down to become a Christian.
The Consequences of Living an Undisciplined Life
The consequence of living an undisciplined life is indulgence. Individuals who live an undisciplined life will find themselves indulging in things that are not right or good or things that are good but are out of control. Excess of a good thing is a bad thing.
Additionally, we will defend our indulges, such as, “I just can’t help myself,” or “I don’t feel like it.” In a word, enslavement. Although we disagree with the enslavement of people, we enslave ourselves.
Our health is affected; for example, overindulging in food or overeating leads to ill health.
Indulgence leads to financial problems because we cannot resist buying things and spending more than our resources. The malls will become our second home, and we develop slothful-lazy habits, doing only what we have to get by, leading to bad habits and sloppiness. We become Reckless with our speech—saying things we should not say, talking about things we should not speak about, and making criticisms we should not make
An undisciplined life is a poor testimony. Therefore, we must be disciplined in all areas, including how much time we spend in God’s Word, our giving to God, and our prayer life.
What is Required to Live a Disciplined Life?
We must have a definite, realistic, and specific goal (e.g., to please God, a positive goal in life). Having a specific goal helps us to keep focused and allows us to stay on track. When the goal is achieved, it motivates us to achieve goals that are even more significant.
We must learn to Identify and detach. This exercise involves identifying the things that war against our souls and detaching ourselves from them. Scripture instructs us in 1 Peter 2:11,
“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.”
We must pursue discipline with diligence and be fully committed to discipline ourselves. Focus on the goal. We must not go by our feelings. There will be times when we don’t feel like disciplining ourselves, keeping ourselves in check. We may not feel like studying the Word, praying, or worshiping. However, focusing on the goal will aid us in maintaining our commitment, and we must be consistent.
Practicing self-denial is a good practice. Matthew 16:24 quotes Jesus as saying,
24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
We must not allow “self” to control our lives but allow the Spirit of God to control it. We must yield to the Spirit’s control. We have to deny ourselves whatever interferes with our relationship with God.
We must learn to say no and not yield to peer pressure when we know the choice before us is the wrong one.
We have to allow ourselves to fail. We are not perfect and will fail at times. However, when we do, we must ask for forgiveness and refocus on the goal.
What are the Rewards of a Disciplined Life?
When we lead a disciplined life, the rewards are multifaceted and include:
- – A lifestyle that is orderly and more spiritual
- – A sense of achievement
- – Contributes to good health—less stress, worry, concern, and insecurities.
- – More productive because we save time by living an orderly life
- – It contributes to our personal, intimate relationship with God (loving His Word, sharing our testimony).
The greatest reward will be eternal life with the Lord. We must keep our eyes on the prize!
Questions, comments, concerns, or experiences living a disciplined life may be left below.