Thursday, November 4, 2010

You don't grow without self-control ...


Have you ever wondered why late night television seems to be riddled with infomercials for exercise equipment and the latest, greatest, trendiest exercise videos?

It seems odd that during the time when most people are sleeping or suffering from insomnia, all the infomercials for improving your fitness are broadcast. A few nights ago I noticed a new commercial, one advertising food delivery directly to your home to help guarantee you will lose weight. It seems the concept behind the idea is that people exercise so little personal discipline that if you're really going to lose weight, you need to have specific meals delivered to your home to control content and portion size.

While the concept may seem appealing to some, the bottom line in weight loss and weight management is you'll never lose or manage your weight until you apply self-control over what and how much you eat.

All too often we approach other areas of our lives with the same concept as that commercial ... we splurge and indulge rather than exercise personal discipline, which keeps our lives somewhat (or seriously) out of control. If we're serious about making changes, making improvements, or truly growing as a person, we must come to the place where we purposely and consistently exercise self-control in our lives.

Jesus not only taught that personal discipline was important, He was rather radical about it. Look at the examples He offered as recorded in Matthew 5:29-30, "29 So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell." What's the point? Sometimes you need to exercise radical discipline to make sure you do what really needs to be done.

The idea of personal discipline isn't something that we finally apply when things are falling apart. Instead, the Apostle Paul identifies self-discipline as a basic characteristic of the true follower of Christ. Look at what Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7, "
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

Is self-discipline a consistent characteristic of your life? How can you exercise self-discipline more consistently to have a fuller life in Christ?

Scotty

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