Where Self-Discipline Comes From
Where Self-Discipline Comes From By Gary Henry
Every day that we live in this world, we are tested. We are faced with choices that test our character. Deep down inside, what kind of people are we? When the right thing and the easy thing are not the same, we must choose between them. Do we have the character to do what we know is best, and to do that reliably and consistently? Are we made of strong stuff or not?
Most of us could use a little more self-discipline and a little more will power. We need the benefit of having trained our bodies to carry out the dictates of our conscience. Paul said, "I discipline my body and bring it into subjection" (1 Corinthians 9:27). But how do we do that? Where does self-discipline come from?
Self-discipline comes from having a hope that means enough to us that we refuse to give it up. We find the strength to say '"No" only when we have a powerful "Yes" burning within us. Like Jesus, who "for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross," we must endure our own crosses. The "joy set before us" is the key.
Actually, self-discipline is a form of courage -- and courage is always born of hope. When we can see the light that comes from the lighthouse, fear of the darkness is lessened and we find the strength to make for the harbor. So John wrote, "Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (1 John 3:2, 3).
If we are to grow strong in our character, therefore, and if we are to acquire godly integrity. in our conduct, we must focus more on God. His glory must mean enough to us that the desire for Him to be glorified is a powerful force constantly calling us to higher ground. If God is to be glorified, there are some things that we must give up, it's true. But the question is really one of gaining things -- greater things that we should refuse to give up!