Posted by: missionventureministries | January 2, 2020

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS – TO BE DISCIPLINED – Hebrews 12:11

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11) 

As the New Year begins many make decision to make changes in their life. It would be therefore, wise to focus on self-discipline, because growth in many areas of our life is largely determined by our progress in being disciplined. Without this foundational discipline, there can be no advancement in any area of our life. 

Let us be clear, if we do not discipline ourselves, God Himself will discipline us (Hebrews 12:5–11). 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, lest we be disciplined by God. 

John MacArthur writes: Self-discipline is important in any endeavor of life. It’s best defined as the ability to regulate one’s conduct by principle and sound judgment, rather than by impulse, desire, or social custom. Biblically, self-discipline may be summarized in one word: OBEDIENCE. To exercise self-discipline is to avoid evil by staying within the bounds of God’s law. 

Since self-discipline is so important, how do we develop it? 

Here are some suggestions; but remember to start one step at the time so you will not be overwhelmed. 

Start your day by doing the hard things first. Most people do just the opposite; spending their time doing the easier, low priority tasks. But when they run out of time and energy, the difficult, high-priority tasks are left undone. Remember, when you get sidetracked, make yourself go back and complete them. 

For example, make your bed, put your clothes in place, and wash the dishes; don’t make extra work for others. And don’t start several projects at once; the feeling of “getting something done” will help you grow in self-respect and self-discipline. 

Clean your desk at work. Train yourself to put things where they belong when they are out of place. After you’ve cleaned your room or desk, extend that discipline of neatness to the rest of your house and workplace. 

Get yourself to the point where orderliness matters. Learn how to keep your environment clean and orderly so you can function without a multitude of distractions. Such neatness will further develop self-discipline by forcing you to make decisions about what is important and what is not. 

Finish what you start. Some people’s lives are a sad litany of unfinished projects. If you start something, finish it. Therein rests an important key to developing self-discipline. 

Make a commitment to be punctual. Tardiness is a hard habit to break. To conquer it you must be willing to call it what it is, a selfish and inconsiderate behavior. Being punctual marks a life that is organized. It reveals a person whose desires, activities, and responsibilities are under control. Arriving on time also recognizes the importance of others and the value of your time. 

Plan ahead. Everything takes longer than you think, so don’t wait until the last minute and then rush around like a mad person. Living like this causes you stress, whereas allowing extra time is good for your health and peace of mind. 

Make a schedule, and stick to it. Have a to-do list of things you need to accomplish. Using a daily planning book or a personal information manager program on your computer or smart phone would be helpful. But get organized, even if all you do is jot down appointments and to-do items on a piece of paper. The reality is that if you don’t control your time, everything and everyone else will. 

Don’t constantly seek to be entertained. When you have free time, do things that are productive instead of merely looking to be entertained. Read the Bible or good uplifting books, listen to good inspiring music, take a walk, or go and help someone. In other words, learn to entertain yourself with things that are challenging, stimulating, and creative. Things that are of no value make a very small contribution to your well-being. 

Keep your word, if you say you’re going to do something, do it. When you make commitments, see them through. That calls for the discipline to properly evaluate whether you have the time and capability to do something. And once you’ve made the commitment, self-discipline will enable you to keep it. 

Learn to say no to your feelings and impulses. If you are trying to loose weight discipline yourself to not have dessert after a meal. Get up, clean up the kitchen and remind your mind of who is in charge. 

Welcome responsibility. Volunteer to help others. That will force you to have your life organized enough to have the time for such projects. 

Accept correction. Correction helps you develop self-discipline by showing you what you need to avoid. Solomon wrote “Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days” (Proverbs 19:20); and “He whose ear listens to the life giving reproof will dwell among the wise. He who neglects discipline despises himself, but he who listens to reproof acquires understanding” (Proverbs 15:31-32). As we see the Bible tells us that, “wisdom in found in those who take advice” (Proverbs 13:10), so if you are prudent you will welcome correction and will seek the counsel of the wise. 

Ask God to help you control your unruly thoughts, feelings, desires and behaviors. Identify the unmanageable areas in your life, stop making excuses, face the truth even if it hurts, refuse to feel sorry for yourself, and set a few attainable goals. In other words: “Learn to sense what is vital and of real value.” 

Learning self-discipline in the little things of life prepares the way for big successes. On the other hand, those who are undisciplined in small matters will likely be undisciplined in more important issues. 

These practical suggestions may not seem to involve any deep spiritual principles. Yet you cannot split your life into the secular and the spiritual. Instead you must live every aspect of your life to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). And self-discipline cultivated in the seemingly mundane things of life will spill over into the spiritual realm. 

The bottom line is that a self-disciplined life brings us closer to God and puts us in a better position to hear from Him. It causes us to make better choices and walk in the path God has for us because we take time to listen to His voice. We experience His peace when we walk through hard times because we are disciplined to study His Word and we remember His promises about carrying us through.   

When we do this we are able to bless others by making ourselves available to teach them the word of God. A spiritually strong life is a wonderful life to live, but it doesn’t come without effort. Staying close to God is the only way we will have a strong sense of purpose and peace in our life. 

Remember, discipline is defined as “training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior,” and it should be a natural component of the Christian life. In fact, if we think about this, almost nothing of importance in our life is achieved without discipline. 

Wishing you great joy, peace and success in this New Year as you discipline yourself to walk and obey the Lord and His Word.

*******

 


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