"...discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness." 1 Tim 4:7
Discipline is what people today need the most, and want the least. The lack of discipline can be seen in our generation through its self-indulgence, restlessness, gross immorality, and substance abuse.
Self-discipline is the ability to regulate one’s conduct by principle, rather than by impulse or desire, and it welcomes self-restraint and perseverance.
The traits of an undisciplined person are: running away from difficulty, avoiding incompatible people, seeking the easy way out, and quitting when the going gets rough. Indiscipline can also be seen in students who quit school, husbands and wives who divorce, church members who neglect services, and people who walk out on the job to escape discipline. Does it sound like the world we live in today?
The Bible says, “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” Days of adversity will come. Only by consistent disciplined living can strength in character be developed to face adversity. There is nothing difficult about developing discipline in our lives. Here are a few steps that you may use for yourself or your children as you try to develop a more disciplined walk.
1. Don’t take short cuts - An undisciplined person is always looking for short cuts when they are completing a task. They want it quick and easy, and would never think about systematically completing a project. A good start is to willingly place your time and attention to completing a job from start to finish. If you sew, always do the little things that help to increase the wear of your clothing. Don’t take short cuts by skipping the pre-shrink step, the stay-stitching, ect.
2. Form good habits - If you don’t hang your clothes up, make your bed daily, clean around the sink after you’re finished, or set a time limit to clean up after a meal, then begin a new routine. A disciplined person seeks to avoid making unnecessary work for someone else -- even at church.
3. Train your body - Try not to fidget, tap your fingers, drag your feet, or sigh loudly while in the company of others. These can be practiced while you wait patiently. Always look people directly in the eye while speaking to them. Don’t avert your eyes while walking in public. It gives people the impression that they are unimportant, or that you are above them. Some people are sensitive if you do it to them, and it does not convey love.
4. Tackle the difficult tasks first - If you do this, then you won’t procrastinate later on in the project, which will cause you not to finish it.
5. Create punctuality - Punctuality is a Christian courtesy, which can be done simply by planning ahead. You should always be punctual for doctor’s appointments, meetings, meeting a friend, church, and whenever possible. Another way to be punctual is by paying your bills on time. Once your husband gets paid, pay your tithe, pay the bills, and what remains will be what you live on until the next pay period.
6. Show restraint - in what you say and what you eat. Don’t be frank, because you don’t know how your comment will affect the other person. Also, show restraint by limiting your sugar or food intake. This will allow you to look and be your best, and add years to your life.
7. Prepare for the unexpected - This is not showing fear, but it is evidence of good planning. You can prepare for the unexpected by having preventative maintenance done on your vehicles, and your heating/air conditioning system. You can also prepare by having food set aside for the terrorist attack our government officials have said is foreseeable. Don’t be the typical American who waits until the last minute to stock up - because then it will be too late.
8. Create a pattern of prayer - If you set aside a specific time to pray, it will come to mind when you are going through the motions, such as: first thing in the morning, after you eat your breakfast, while you drive in your car, while you shower or have the bathroom door closed, or at bedtime. Find your favorite time and pray faithfully at those moments.
We should all have a passion to improve ourselves, and gain strength over our weaknesses. We are more useful and dependable in His Kingdom when we demonstrate discipline in our daily lives. Not only will we be trusted more by those around us, but also we will find more purpose and fulfillment in our Christian walk.
~Kindred Spirits Journal #15, January 2006