There’s no shortage of people hoping to learn how to develop self-discipline. In their efforts to do so, the problem is that most people start and give up on the way. They make excuses, saying that God made them the way they are and everyone should accept it. However, God would never let you turn away from an opportunity to improve yourself.
The dictionary defines self-discipline as the correction or regulation of oneself for the sake of improvement. Society tends to associate self-discipline with celebrities, athletes, or business owners because they achieve a high level of success that most people usually don’t reach without a high level of self-discipline. So how do we develop self-discipline and learn to be a disciplined person as everyday people?
What Does the Bible Say About Self-Discipline
As Christians, we don’t have the luxury of having the attitude of non-believers when it comes to lack of self-discipline. We can’t just say this is how I am and move on with life. In fact, because of what the Bible says about self-discipline, there aren’t any excuses. In his letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul wrote that the spirit God gave us doesn’t make us timid but gives us power, love, and self-discipline. When we give our lives to God, His Holy Spirit comes to live in us, and we receive divine strength and help from Him to do things we couldn’t do without Him. That includes self-discipline. In Galatians 5:22-23, God gives us a list of fruits that Christians will grow as we grow into our relationship with God, including self-discipline. It’s the spirit of God within us that gives us the ability to practice true self-discipline and self-control.
Although we have the Holy Spirit to help develop self-discipline, it’s still a learning process. 2 Peter 1:3 reminds us that His divine power has granted us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him. He called us to His glory and excellence. Through our understanding of God, we have everything we need to live Christian lives and be successful. Still, we have to learn God’s Word to get the knowledge and know what areas He thinks we need more discipline in our lives. Paul said it best in his letter to the Philippians; he learned the self-discipline of satisfaction by the power of the Holy Spirit.
How to Develop Self-Discipline
Still, we can only do these things with the strength that God gives us. Some ask why self-discipline is so tricky. Self-discipline isn’t easy, but we make it harder when we exclude God from the process. Sometimes, we have the mindset that we can do everything on our own and will only come to God when we fail. The truth is that things usually go wrong because we try to do them without God. We set ourselves up to fail or take the long road to success when we move without Him. The power and strength of God are in us, but how do we become disciplined people?
Set Goals and Commit to God
Regardless of what areas of life you need to work on, there must be an end goal. Philippians 3:12-14 reveals that Paul wrote this letter to the Philippian church. At a point in his life, he had already accomplished so much for his ministry. Paul traveled the world to preach the gospel, established several churches, and won thousands of souls through Christ. Yet, he still wanted to do more for God. He wasn’t concerned about his accomplishments, but his focus was on what God still had left for him. Like Paul, God also calls us to press forward in our spiritual journey and other aspects of life to reach our goal.
In any pursuit of self-discipline, we have to have a clear goal that drives us in times of struggle and obstruction. It doesn’t matter if your goal is to go back to school for your degree or lose weight; as Christians, we’re called to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit that lives in us for the self-discipline to stay the course. When we commit our goals to God, it not only gives us more motivation, but it keeps us focused.
There’s a famous saying that says, “procrastination is the thief of time,” because time is the only thing we can’t get back when it’s gone. Proverbs 14:23 reminds us that all hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. No one has ever become successful by talking about their plans. Instead, they use their self-discipline to turn their dreams and goals into reality. When it comes to spiritual ideals, this is even more true. It’s these times when you don’t want to have devotions, go to church, or forgive that we need to be the most diligent. When we push through in those instances, it gives us spiritual endurance and self-discipline. The more we stop procrastinating and keep moving forward to do the things God called us to do, the more benefits we’ll receive.
Be Willing to Do the Work
Self-discipline requires work, the one thing that most people try their hardest to avoid. God didn’t give us a pass on hard work. He gave us His Holy Spirit to help us do the work so that it wouldn’t seem as hard. We’ll all face some of the same circumstances that non-Christians do, but we’ll go through it differently because of God. Our hard work doesn’t have to come with stress or frustration, but we can do it with joy and peace because God is with us. A self-disciplined person is never in the race to be there. They’re always in it to compete for the goal or the prize. They’re always working for God, and everything they do is done for His glory.
Get Rid of Distractions
In your journey to becoming a self-disciplined person, it’s vital to identify anything that could hinder your goal. Hebrews 12:1 reminds us that since a cloud of witnesses surrounds us, we must throw away anything that hinders us and run with perseverance in the race marked for us. Once you identify what’s distracting you, it would be best to start eliminating or avoiding them if you can. For example, if certain people or places are a distraction, you should avoid them. You may have to temporarily block that friend who constantly texts you all day or unplug your electronics for a while. It will be challenging initially, but that’s just a part of the journey to self-discipline
Track Your Progress
Because self-discipline is a part of our spiritual growth as Christians, it’s a lifelong process that we must apply to every aspect of our lives. It’s essential to track your progress and reward ourselves along the way. It’s also vital to keep in mind that this process won’t be a smooth one. You won’t hit all of your self-discipline goals right away, and it’s not fair to yourself to expect to meet them instantly. You shouldn’t plan for perfection, but you should anticipate that you’ll inevitably fall off track. However, falling off track doesn’t mean that you’re a failure; even Paul fell short sometimes. You’re only a failure if you quit and give up. The key to overcoming a setback is acknowledging it, getting up, leaning on God for understanding, and pushing forward.Tracking your success is a motivational factor to keep you moving in the right direction. It shows what God has done and gets you excited to see what He will do next.
Through the Holy Spirit, we have the power to exercise self-discipline in any facet of our lives. Anything you want to work on or improve in your life set a goal to do it, then commit it to God. Then, ask God to help you exercise more self-discipline by the power of His Spirit. When you stumble, it won’t change that you can do all things through Christ, who gives you strength. It just means that you have to keep relying on God along the way and cling to His Word for guidance.