“Disciple” and “discipline” are similar words and come from a similar Latin root.
A disciple is one who learns and follows.
Discipline is self-control.
Discipline is a friend. Discipline is a good thing. It may time time and effort to get disciplined in any area of life, but once you have a discipline in place, it will work for you, not against you.
Hebrews 12:11 All chastening seems for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Another way of talking about discipline is to talk about forming a good habit.
You can pick anything in life. If you have a problem and form a good habit or solution to overcome it, the discipline to create that good habit is worth it.
That covers so many arenas that it is only possible to give a very few common problems that people seek solutions to.
- Eating correctly
- Exercising on a regular basis
- Finding lost keys or cell phones
- Not taking a shopping list and forgetting what you needed and having to take a second trip
- Not calling in a presciption on time
The solutions are varied and books and webinars have been given on the topic of overcoming bad habits so that will not be addressed here, other than to suggest one possible solution.
- Write down one problem you are dealing with.
- Think about it and pray about it, ask for God’s wisdom and help
- Write down some ideas that come to you and see if you can at least find a first step among those ideas.
When you are praying it is easy to get distracted. While you are thinking and praying about how to solve a problem, while you are asking God for help, you may start thinking of things you need to do such as buy lettuce at the store, or write out a bill, or get the car filled up with gas the next time you are out. Write those things down because in the act of writing them down, you will clear them from your mind. It will free up your mind to stay focused on what you are praying about and your mind will stop going over and over what you need to remember to do. And, of course, since they are written down, you will not worry about forgetting them.
It is possible, not only possible, but likely that you will only get a first step idea or solution and not the whole picture or final solution. In other words, if you are thinking of finding a new apartment to rent, you might think of talking to the property manager you met the other day. Or, once you pray about it, you may end up talking to someone in the lunch room at work and they mention a room they know is for rent. You might see a for rent sign as you drive to work and feel like you should stop in there after work.
The point is, pray, ask for God’s help, and then be open to ideas or help coming in various ways.
If you are thinking of eating better write down the problem and then write down where you fall down.
Do you eat junk food cookies or snacks? Write that down.
Do you buy a candy bar every afternoon? Write that down.
Then look at the list. How can you change? Don’t buy the cookies and bring them home. So then you have to decide what you will buy instead. Apples? Yogurt? As for the candy bar, instead of standing in the checkout where all the candy bars are stacked, tempting you, go through the self-check out which usually has less temptation around it. You might have to get a book on nutrition or learn some things online about healthy snacks. You might find a group where you can be accountable in your effort to become healthier. Any improvement for discipline in any area will take effort.
You will never solve a problem unless you look at it, confront it, actually think about how it is derailing your life, and then pray for God’s wisdom and guidance for solutions and follow it.
It is a matter of forming good habits and not breaking them. It takes time and effort and discipline to learn about what to do and then take the ongoing, consistent effort to do it, but you will be very pleased with yourself and the results if you consistently beat a bad habit. And you can thank God for His help.
Speaking of accountability, one of the organizations I admire is AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) because of the discipline and accountability there. People with similar problems help each other.
At the Lindell Recovery Network, a person is matched up with a recovered person of the same age and problem.
If you are near Los Angeles, there is the Dream Center.
Accountability is why people of all walks of life have coaches. People tend to stay more on the “straight and narrow” if they know they are accountable to someone for how they are following through on commitments.
Even the best professional atheletes at the top of their games have coaches.
Life is a lifelong process of improvement through more discipline and discipleship. And, it is not a luxury, it is a necessity. There are plenty of stories about when someone reached the top of their game in business or sports through hard work and discipline, only to lose it all through a lack of discipline in another area of life. Being a disciple of Jesus and learning discipline is not a option, it is a necessity.
Proverbs 3:13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
the man who gets understanding.
14 For her good profit is better than getting silver,
and her return is better than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies.
None of the things you can desire are to be compared to her.
16 Length of days is in her right hand.
In her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness.
All her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her.
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