“I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:27, NLT
My first real experience with self-discipline was off-season conditioning for college basketball. Cardiovascular and weight training were scheduled daily to get us ready for the regular season, some six months later. We would run several miles and then run bleacher laps in the football stadium. Morale was often low because there seemed to be no urgent need; the real games were months away.
Paul’s challenge sounds much like off-season training. Paul’s personal motivation was to stay in the race and not be disqualified. That seems to be the clear challenge for each of us. The fact of the matter is, no one really likes discipline but we all like the results. I do not enjoy the discipline of saving money for retirement and yet there will come a day that I will be glad I practiced that discipline.
There are several disciplines the Bible calls us to: fasting, prayer, Bible study, hard work, sleep schedule and many more. It is my opinion that anyone can do what comes natural, and a disciplined person will choose discipline for the short-term so they can experience long-term gain.
Sandy and I have two children. It was very difficult to discipline them, (they will probably disagree at this point) especially when they were young. Spanking was the most difficult (my son will really disagree here). We really loved our children and yet we knew if other people were going to love them we would have to discipline them. No parent really enjoys disciplining their children and yet everyone enjoys the lasting results.
QUESTION: Would the people who know you best describe you as disciplined? Are you disciplined spiritually? Physically? Financially? Relationally? What one area of your life needs attention?