It’s Madness–You Need Discipline to Win!

March Madness has arrived. Already there’s been several upsets. Sorry Mizzou, UNLV and Duke! Close games that shouldn’t have been. Tough loss Alabama! And the exciting return and win of the Indiana Hoosiers to the “Big Dance”!

The analysis of color commentators is always interesting. Sometimes spot on. Other times a bit prejudiced. However, one observation you often hear relates to the issue of discipline. A disciplined team follows the coach’s instruction and works together to run the plays that are in their game plan. A disciplined player plays “within himself.” He doesn’t lose control. Get overly emotional. And doesn’t try to do things beyond his ability .

On the other hand, an announcer will sometimes say, “They are a good team, but they haven’t played very disciplined.” Or a gifted player may lack discipline to play hard for 40 minutes. Or stick to the game play. Sometimes off the court he fails to follow the rules and gets into trouble. It’s said, “He’s a great player, but lacks personal discipline.”

Discipline is also important in life. In the language of the sports world, Paul exhorts,”Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (1Corinthians 9:24-27)

Last Sunday night I had the opportunity to spend time with some wonderful young people in Kansas City. I told them if I only had one opportunity to share with them, it would be about discipline. Because it’s the most important quality to help you be successful. Academically. Physically. Socially. Spiritually.

Unfortunately, our culture does not have equal regard for the value of discipline. Gladys Books observed, “Discipline is demanded of the athlete to win a game. Discipline is required for the captain running his ship. Discipline is needed for the pianist to practice for the concert. Only in the matter of personal conduct is the need for discipline questioned.”

Like the athlete, Christ’s Disciples must exercise discipline in order to win. Disciplined Disciples…

1. Recognize that game time is limited. “Redeem the time” urges Paul (Eph 5:16). Remember the “game clock” will one day read 0:00. Make the days count. Don’t waste them on carnal pleasures. Or squander them away with useless worry.

2. Know the “Play Book”. Discipline says, “I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word” (Ps 119:15-16). Through the Word we obtain instruction. Receive strength. Develop conviction.

3. Talk to the “Coach” regularly. He wants you to communicate with Him. David said, “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice” (Ps 55:17). A pretty good discipline for Christians to follow, I would say.

4. Keep your eyes the goal. Paul was running to win. His eyes were on the goal. On Jesus. On the hope of Heaven. Stay focused!

5. Exercise, train and eliminate obstacles. Resist the temptation to “fulfill the lusts of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16-17). Like the athlete, Christians cannot “do the things they would.” Discipline is required to live righteously. Say no to sin. And remain morally pure.

Well, I’m getting back to “March Madness.” It will come to a close in a couple of weeks. I predict whoever wins will be the most disciplined team. And I believe those Christians who “stay in the game”, “overcome obstacles” and receive “the crown” will likewise be the most dedicated, disciplined Disciples. Develop discipline, my friends, because the madness of this modern world will continue until God lets time expire.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under Discipline

6 responses to “It’s Madness–You Need Discipline to Win!

  1. Brenda Dean

    Well said! Great analogy of sports discipline to Scripturally-led personal discipline.


  2. Ruth Bryan

    Ken, love your blog. You have a talent for making application to daily life. Keep up the good work.


  3. Billie Mann

    Even though there are some of us who don’t watch basketball(imagine that), i can definately relate with this analogy. I love the way you have always made life stories relate to biblical teaching.


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