Personal discipline is not popular.
Any insistence on self-discipline is usually resisted.
It’s viewed as a violation of our rights.
To have standards, to follow a set of ethics or to press moral policies
are now seen as a violation of our personal liberties.
The popular pursuit now is to be free-spirited and express yourself.
To be disciplined is viewed as being anti progressive.
To be self disciplined is now a restriction on freedom.
We just refuse to be bound by these confining handcuffs.
But a lack of self discipline is a lack of self-control which is a green light to immaturity and having the character quality of a jellyfish.
We’re to discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness
1 Tim. 4:7
Phillips renders this:
Avoid false teaching & fake information which weakens us.
Out strength is in the truth. Truth builds faith.
And truth is absorbed when we follow sound teaching from God’s Word.
So we have to steer clear of all these stupid Godless fictions.
And we take the time and trouble to keep ourselves spiritually fit.
We can paraphrase 1 Timothy 4:7-10 this way:
But refuse and avoid irreverent legends.
Our minds and lives are being pummeled by profane, impure, godless fictions.
We’re surrounded by foolish tales and silly myths.
We have to reject them and express our disapproval of them.
We need to be involved in spiritual discipline to achieve godliness & loyalty to God.
We need daily enlist personal activities to keep ourselves spiritually fit
Physical training is of some value, but godliness (spiritual training) is useful and of value in everything and in every way.
It’s spiritual discipline that holds the promises for this present life and also for
our future life.
This saying is reliable & worthy of complete acceptance by everybody.
With a view to this we toil & strive, yes & we suffer reproach,
Because we have fixed our hope on the living God,
Who is our Savior, our Preserver, our Maintainer & our Deliverer.
So we trust in Him, we rely on Him & we adhere to Him to bless our Spirit
We need to stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religious freedoms.
We need to Exercise daily in God— we don’t want to become spiritually flabby,
We need regular Workouts in God’s gymnasium.
We need a disciplined life in God more then anything else.
We’re investing in the bank of the living God and He’ll bless our efforts
Let us be clear, if there is no discipline, there is no discipleship.
If we do not discipline ourselves, God Himself will discipline us
One way or another, there will be discipline in our lives.
Given our tendency toward sin, we must discipline ourselves for the
purpose of godliness, or else God will discipline us. Unless we’re not His
The opposite of self-discipline is a self-indulgent living.
Self discipline is self-mastery, where we develop a strong resistance
to appetites & choices that weaken our resolve.
Self-rule is bringing every thought, word & action captive to the
obedience of Christ
2 Cor. 10:5
There is no advance in personal holiness & Christ like character
Only God can produce authentic self-discipline in us.
The quality of “self-control” is a fruit of the Spirit
The vine (Jesus Christ) produces fruit in the branches.
So self-discipline is created only by the Spirit of Christ.
Self-control is never self-generated, it is God’s work of grace in us.
We are active in practicing it, we step out & we bear this fruit of self-discipline
by the filling of our lives with God’s Word & God’s Spirit.
We never produce self-control.
We yield to God’s voice by exposing ourselves to His Word.
Jesus said the Words I speak are Spirit & life. John 6:63
To be filled with God’s Word is to be filled with God’s Spirit
To be filled with God’s Spirit is to be filled with God’s Word
Steve Lawson notes:
“Jesus makes it clear, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing”
In our own willpower, we cannot do anything that pleases God.
Only by God’s enabling grace can we exercise self-control in our
ongoing war against sin.
The Apostle Paul affirms, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Phil. 4:13
That is, Christ must be mightily working within us.
As sap flows into the branch, producing fruit, divine grace must fill us,
producing self-control. The self can never produce self-discipline.
Only as we live under the Holy Spirit’s control can we live self-controlled lives.
In Galatians 5:22–23, we read that there are nine aspects of the fruit of
the Spirit. Self-discipline appears last on the list.
By Self-discipline occupying this final position, it assumes a place of strategic importance.
In reality, self-discipline is the summation of the previous eight qualities that
the Spirit produces.
The work of the Spirit reaches its consummation in self-control.
This virtue enables us to realize every other aspect of spiritual fruit.
What Does Self-Discipline Look Like?
Self-discipline is compared with an athlete training for and competing in the
“Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in small things”
1 Cor. 9:25
If a runner would win the prize, he must bring his entire life under the strict discipline of rigorous training.
The strenuous workout of the athlete demands that he seriously restrict his personal liberties.
If he is to be victorious, he must refuse many individual freedoms.
Liberties are largely for spectators, not a champion athlete.
He must pursue a proper diet, sufficient rest, and arduous drills.
Every area of his life must be brought under control.
So we “Train ourselves for godliness” 1 Tim. 4:7
We pursue holiness, by disciplines of regular Bible reading, meditation, prayer,
and fellowship with others that do the same.
We also deny many legitimate pleasures if we are to win the prize.
This kind of self-discipline is a rebuke to half-hearted efforts.
We have to train for spiritual victory.
Otherwise we become out-of-shape with flabby faith.
They are spiritual couch potatoes with bulging spiritual waistlines.
Their lifestyle is self-indulgent due to their lack of self-control.
“I box in such a way, as not beating the air” 1 Cor. 9:26
A champion boxer must have a clearly-focused aim in the ring.
But an undisciplined fighter throws wild punches, never landing a blow on his opponent.
An undisciplined believer suffers great defeats in his bout against sin.
To the contrary, a believer must live with self-control in fighting against sin.
A champion athlete must beat his body into submission.
If not, he will be disqualified from the race.
“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to
others I myself should be disqualified””