Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Self-Discipline Part 4: Why Have It?

It could be argued that it it's pointless to have self-discipline at all.  One might say it's just an exercise in being busy, or trying to find true happiness in superfluous activities or stuff.  While I might agree with that to a degree, (we shouldn't do things JUST to do it) I don't believe God put us on this earth to just sit and be or do nothing. He put us here, ultimately, to bring glory to Him, our creator.  How do we do that?  By living our lives and being in relationship with Him and those around us. So what does all this have to do with self discipline? A lot.

If we are here to bring glory to God through the things we do and the people we interact with, then we need to get about the business of doing and being.  One of my favorite verses is found in 2 Timothy 1:7. "For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline." Someone who has power, love, and self-discipline does not sit on the couch and do nothing.  They choose to get up and live life.  They choose to care for their body.  They choose to involve themselves in activities and with people that bring joy to themselves and others around them.  They choose to deny the lesser to gain the greater.

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Years ago, I read a book called "Dare to Discipline Yourself" by Dale E. Galloway.  I'll be honest, I don't remember a ton from it, but I do remember a phrase that he repeated many times: deny the lesser to gain the greater.  If the lesser is this chocolate cupcake sitting here as a snack option, and the greater is feeling healthy and energetic in an hour by eating the apple instead, then make the choice for the apple.  It's simply choosing the better, so there is no regret later.  Another example might be to choose to not buy that 4th purse to be able to set some money aside into savings because we all know what happens when we don't having any extra money in savings, right?  Life happens anyway, and Murphy moves into the back bedroom.  You remember Murphy?  If something can go wrong it will.  That guy likes to hang out when there's no wiggle room or plan for him.  Yuck.

All this is to say that I don't believe that we are truly living up to our potential and plan that God has for us if we are in the habit of choosing to allow ourselves the "easy" route in life.  I'm not sure that it really is easy because, ultimately, we will have to answer for the things we have done...and not done. What will your answer be?

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Is there some little phrase like the "deny the lesser to gain the greater" that you like to remind yourself of when you are facing a tricky choice?  Comment below.

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