DISCIPLESHIP......And life of Continuous Discipline


Discipline, self-control are indispensable attributes of Christian life.  A Christian is called to a life of holiness, and to walk in ways that are pleasing to God.  But, its almost impossible for men to get anywhere in life without discipline, especially in spiritual matters.

We should be good examples of Christians in our public and private life.  This is possible if we make efforts to grow spiritually and when we discipline in 1 Timothy 4:7-8 becomes relevant here.  He says: “Train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

A disciplined Christian will be able to control his behaviour and reaction to issues of life in a godly manner. He will be focused and one that can think clearly.  He can choose to avoid any sin and other behaviours that is not consistent with his status as a child of God.  When a disciplined believer says he is done with a particular behaviour, that's is it.  

What is Self-Discipline
Discipline may evoke a sense of resistance for unbelievers, but for believers, discipline is training yourself, spirit, soul and body to please the Lord.  This is the whole essence of spiritual discipline.

A man begins in a deliberate way to control his attitude, behaviour and how he responds to issues, and as time go on, he begins to master his behaviours and to choose what to do and what not to do.  This is then called 'Self-discipline'.

Continuous discipline is self-discipline, which is essentially the same as self-control, one of the nine fruits of the Spirit listed by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23. Some translations use the word temperance in place of “self-control” which, like self-discipline, generally refers to our ability to control or restrain ourselves from all kinds of feelings, impulses, and desires, which includes the desire for physical and material comfort. Self-discipline is indispensable in the life of a true child of God because of the distractions of life.  A believer must master how to control the things he says, at the time he says them, what he eats and where he should eat.

Apostle Paul talks about “purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). In Romans 12:1-2, he exhorts us to “offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God,” and not to be conformed to the pattern of this world.  These are the words of the Holy Spirit, not just the words of Paul, so believers cannot ignore discipline and hope to achieve godliness.

We have a good example of self-discipline in Daniel and his three friends, who decided not to eat the King's food and wine.  They purposed in their heart that they will not be defiled by the King's portion of food and wine.  They, therefore, requested the Chief of Eunuchs that they are fed with Beans and water for the first ten days.  The Chief Eunuchs agreed to their suggestion and at the end of the period, they looked healthier than the other young men who ate the King's food. Daniel 1:1-20. 

The Need for self-discipline

There are different enticements in the world today that can cause a Christian to miss the mark, so there is a need for every Believer in Christ to be disciplined.  This is more important for believers that are blessed financially, the desire to acquire material goods far beyond their needs can be a way to announce your arrival in the society, but it could also be a trap for your backsliding.

Without self-discipline, a Christian's choice and attitude towards things like dressing, eating and investment may not be different from the unbelievers.  Our appetites for comforts and pleasures can easily become our master and lead us into sin or otherwise hinder us in our spiritual walk if they are not controlled. If we do not consider the spiritual implications of the things we do and the actions we take, it means we are not spiritual.  Such a Christian is carnal.

What are the things to Control?
1. Your Mind
2. Your Body
3. Your Tongue
4. Your Appetite
5. Your Family

Your Mind
Your target here should be to have the mind of Christ, a disciplined and focused mind.  The potential of possessing the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), to see things the way Christ saw them, will take you back to studying the word of God and praying without season. Apostle Paul understood this well and says: “Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable if there is any excellence if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8). That's what you should be meditating on, heavenly matters.

Your Family
The family presents us with a wonderful opportunity to live a disciplined and well-pleasing life.  If you are born in a godly home, it's easier, otherwise, you will start with the bible to know what God says about the relationship with parents, relative, friends and neighbours.  The important thing here is to obey the word and practise it. As a youth discipline yourself to obey your parents, do not talk back at them or 'eye them or look down on them', no matter how big you have become.

If you’re married, you need to live out Ephesians 5:25-31: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (v. 25). For those who are fathers, God provides a workout in one pungent sentence: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Tongue  -   Integrity, 
Believers who are honest usually makes a vow to themselves not to tell lies, no matter who and what is involved.  They make a vow of chastity before God never to cheat on their spouse.  This personal vows of honesty are very important because the bible says whoever that tell lies is a child of the devil. Do not allow lies to disqualify you. 

We must let God’s Word draw our lines of conduct. Our speech and actions must be intentionally true (Proverbs 12:22; Ephesians 4:15), backed by the courage to keep our word and stand up for our convictions (Psalm 15:4). An old saying sums it up: “Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny.”(1)

Tongue - Talk when necessary
“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26). The true test of a man’s spirituality is not his ability to speak, but rather his ability to bridle his tongue!  The tongue and what we say can either condemn us or set us free.

Continuous Discipline

A life of continuous discipline results when you understand there is a crowd of witnesses watching your every move,  the things you do in private and public life.  A lot of what we do under spiritual discipline starts with the purity of heart. What we see on the street and the things we watch affect our mood and behaviour.  Sensuality is the biggest obstacle to godliness and the Christian must, therefore, discipline his members if he will experience godliness.  It results when we realize who we are in Christ and what God expects from us. 

A life of continuous discipline will require some sacrifice, self-denial and emotional training to obtain.  Jesus was the Son of God.  He did not need to sanctify Himself, however, He sanctified Himself because He wanted His disciples to do the same.   Before the Lord went to the Cross, He prayed, "For them, I sanctify Myself that they too may be truly sanctified (John 17:19).

A father, mother or brother that knows his place in Christ, will always sanctify himself or herself because of what God expects from him/her, but also because of people around him/her that will be affected by his or her behaviour.  A mother that quarrels and abuse the husband have nothing to teach her daughters, they will not obey, because of what they are seeing of her in the house.  

Disciplined Christians are too focused to return to their past sin or similar behaviour. Majority of disciplined believers know their weaknesses.  They know that sin is the problem of man and sin robs the man of the blessings of God. They are not deceived by any colouration that sin may take, or who around them is speaking enticing words, their response to sinful proposals, ideas is NO!

A student, mother or father who decide to be disciplined will always more efficient than their peers.  Because of their concentration, they stay on their assignment until it is completed, they are highly productive and they eat healthily. They can control their appetite and tempers.

How to Develop Self Discipline

Christians with a higher degree of self-control spend less time debating whether to indulge in behaviours that are detrimental to their health and are able to make positive decisions more easily. They don’t let impulses or feelings dictate their choices. Instead, they make level-headed decisions. As a result, they tend to feel more satisfied with their lives.

Self-discipline is developed and you start by denying yourself some fleshly desires, learn to take your eyes and ears off many things that do not edify.  The body and the flesh hates to be disciplined, but you must keep it under checks so that the flesh and your body does not take you to hellfire.

There are things you can do to learn self-discipline and gain the willpower to live a happier life. Here are some of them for a start.

1. Know your weaknesses.
We all have weaknesses. you have to identify your weaknesses and develop a strategy to overcome temptations coming from those weak areas. Some Weaknesses are more critical than others.  If your weakness is in the critical areas, you should take it seriously.  Some of the critical areas of weakness include:
1. Opposite sex
2. Money
3. Dishonesty - Telling lies.
4. Social media 

If your weakness is the opposite sex, what the person is dealing with is the spirit of Lust.  It is a wicked spirit, very stubborn.  The person needs continuous prayers and deliverance.  Whether it is Facebook or Twitter, you need to acknowledge your shortcomings and work on yourself to overcome.

Learn to avoid temptations 

Like the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.” if you have an issue with the opposite sex, do not store naked pictures in your phone or room.  Such pictures will only fuel the desire you are trying to destroy.  They will make you vulnerable and keep you in that bondage for long.  By simply removing your biggest temptations from your environment, you will greatly improve your self-discipline.

If you want to eat healthier, don't buy junk food. If you want to improve your productivity at work, turn off notifications and silence your cell phone. The fewer distractions you have, the more focused you will be on accomplishing your goals. 

Set clear boundaries for yourself.
If you hope to achieve self-discipline, you must have a clear vision of what is permissible and what is not.  Make a list of things you will never do or ask for.  Decide how you want to relate with friends and neighbours and what is permissible. If you want to succeed, then you should know the price of each level of success and give it, after all, if you don’t know where you are going, any destination becomes the goal.

Have a list of DOs and DONOTs for yourself.
We aren’t born with self-discipline -- it’s a learned behaviour. And just like any other skill you want to master, it requires daily practice and repetition. Just like going to the gym, self-discipline takes a lot of work.  Some people decide never to borrow money from friends, others decide not to borrow clothes, cars etc.  Some people have decided never to sleep away from home, unless they are in a journey, far from home.

Many people have never smoked or taken alcohol in their life because they decided they will not smoke or drink.  Some people when they missed their way to a pornographic site, vowed never to see such evil again.  In Christ, what you ask is what you get, just make sure you ask from your heart.  

Learn to control your Appetite.
The feeling of being hungry can be real, yet if you have decided not to eat outside, it will take discipline to hold yourself till you get home. If you succeed one day, you will succeed again and again.  When you’re hungry, your ability to concentrate suffers and your brain doesn’t function as well. Your self-control is demanded to motivate yourself to continue until your set time or place to eat comes.

Give yourself time to develop
Give yourself some time to put your self-discipline structure on the ground. Never get discouraged by failures, only make sure there is no going back.  Even with all of our best intentions and well-laid plans, we sometimes fall short. It happens.

I can assure you that in the beginning, you will stumble and fall.  Don't be discouraged, and don’t let yourself get wrapped up in guilt, anger or frustration, all you need to do is find out what led to the fall, make necessary amendments and move on.


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