Self-discipline is what Christian’s need the most and want the least.
Too often young people who leave home, students who quit school, spouses who walk out of their marriages, believers who change churches often, and church members who neglect attendance at worship services are simply trying to escape discipline. The true motive is often camouflaged by dozens of excuses, but behind the flimsy front is the hard core aversion to self restraint and self control.
A great deal of our instability and dysfunctional living can be traced back to this basic flaw in character. Overflowing asylums, substance abuse centers, and jails are symptoms (and proof) of an undisciplined life. There may be secondary causes and there may be secondary cures, but somewhere behind them all is the need for discipline, self-discipline. The kind of self-discipline that is needed goes much deeper than getting up when your alarm clock goes off or showing up to work on time; it embraces self-restraint, courage, perseverance, strength of backbone, and mettle in the soul.
Many addictions and nervous emotional disorders are simply the accumulated result of years of self-indulgent living. A lifelong pattern of running away from difficulties, avoiding responsibilities, failing to exercise good judgment, carnal indulgences, and always seeking the easy way out finally shows up in neurotic behaviors, various addictions, semi-invalidism, and dysfunction.
It’s not a disease. It’s the result of undisciplined living.
You can read books, consult doctors, counsel with preachers, offer innumerable prayers, make religious commitments, become inundated with prescription drugs, pay for expensive treatment, and endure spiritual scourgings, yet none of these treatments reveal the true cause of irrational behavior – LACK OF DISCIPLINE. And the only cure is to become a disciplined person.
The Bible says “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small” (Proverbs 24:10). Days of adversity are sure to come. Weak people will faint by self-induced illnesses, by blaming others, by quitting, by displaying “nerves” – almost any method that offers the possibility of escape. Only by consistent disciplined living can the strength of character be developed which is needed to face adversities without fainting.
The flood of moral looseness that is so rampant today, and has had such a harmful effect upon our youth and undermined our homes is directly related to self-indulgent living. The Church has not escaped either. Easy-believism and a lack of sanctification have resulted in flabby saints, defeated Christians, and playboy preachers. We have given lip service to the Lord but in practice have bowed at the altar of carnal living. We are captivated by materialism while protesting it in others. We are prone towards explosive emotional outbursts while condemning the same behavior in others. We have been thrown off balance by a worldly value system rather that a Biblical one.
The remedy is discipline and rugged self-denial.