One Quality for Success You Can’t Do Without

self.disciplineSunday evening Norma Jean and I were invited to join the young people of the Eastside church in Baytown, Texas, where I’m holding a meeting, for their monthly devotion.  Following the food, fellowship and singing,  I was asked to share a few thoughts.  It’s always fun to be part of youth activities.  I love their enthusiasm.  Their energy.  Their excitement.  Not just for life.  But for spiritual matters.

So, what would I share with them?  I decided that if I only had one chance to encourage them, there is a topic that will impact every area of their lives.  Their school work.  Their social activities.  Their relationships.  Their spiritual growth.  Their morality.  Their succeess or failure in life.    And it will help you too.  Young or old.  Here it is.

Self-Discipline.

The aposlte Paul spoke of the importance of self discipline when he compared the Christian life to an Olympic athlete who commits to rigorous training.  Here’s what he wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.

 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.  And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.  Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

Learning self-discipline is important to the success of the athlete.  The student.  The business person.  The Christian. Thomas Huxley was right when he wrote, “The most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not.  It is the first lesson that ought to be learned and however early a person’s training begins, it is probably the last lesson a person learns thoroughly.”

Here are the three applications of self-discipline I made to the young people Sunday night.

The Mind

It takes discipline to control your thoughts.  It doesn’t happen accidentally.  It takes work.  It requires our constant attention to what we are reading and watching. It demands periodic renewal, revival and refreshment.  Paul exhorted, “Be renewed in the attitude of your mind” (Eph 4:23).  With so many impure, dishonorable, and ungodly things that vie for our attention,  continual self-discipline is needed in order to focus on the things that will build us up in the faith.  The philosopher Plato wrote, “The first and best victory is to conquer self.”  That begins in the mind.

Habits

People who smoke have told me they want to quit, but can’t.  Why?  Lack of self-discipline.  All habits, good or bad, can be traced back to discipline or the lack of it.  Rob Gilbert said, “First we form our habits, then our habits form us.”  Whether the habits are good or bad depends on our self-discipline.

It requires great effort to break old habits or acquire new ones.  Bible study is a habit.  Prayer is a habit.  Church attendance is a habit. Also needed are habits that require moral and ethical boundaries. But each one demands a discipline of time, effort and priority to make those habits permanent.

Emotions

Too often we say  or do something that we regret, but justify it by saying, “I couldn’t help it.”  While it may be difficult to refrain from improper words or actions, it is possible. A bad temper is evidence of a lack of discipline. Idle words that hurt or impugn others indicate a failure to practice self-control. We can control our emotions if we choose to exercise strict self-discipline.

John Maxwell wrote, “If you desire to rise above the average in any endeavor, you have to be willing to be disciplined.”  The first man to climb Mt.Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary,  once said,” It is not the mountains we conquer, but ourselves.”  May our prayer be, “Lord, help me to conquer and be the best me that I can be!”

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

4 Comments

Filed under Discipline, Uncategorized

4 responses to “One Quality for Success You Can’t Do Without

  1. Richard Williams. Pine Bluff, AR

    Amen, Ken!

  2. HARRY DOWNING

    Ken, I don’t know what the problem is but when I open your last two posts it cuts my computer off. Harry

  3. julie davidson

    as always, Bro. Ken…excellent post…will be copying it off, & sending in “snail-mail”, to someone else who doesn’t have a computer, but will most assuredly appreciate it, too! 🙂 enjoy your time down there in TX…plenty of snow/ice/sleet…the winter “works”, here in SE KS!!! Love in Him, Julie

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