10 Ways to Practice Self Discipline
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV
Discipline is defined as the training of people to obey rules, procedures, or behavior. When I taught elementary school, I spent weeks teaching students classroom procedures for lining up, turning in assignments, and even for storing backpacks in the morning. When the students followed the procedures, the class ran smoothly and everyone learned in a caring environment.
However, when students refused to obey the rules or procedures, I couldn’t just ignore it. Sometimes it was as simple as a reminder of what the rule or procedure was. But sometimes the student knew the rule, but chose to be disobedient on purpose.
Even as adults we sometimes do this, we know what we should be doing, but we do what we want anyways. Adults don’t always have a teacher or a parent reminding us of what we should be doing. So, how do we practice self-discipline?
Hold on to the pattern of sound teaching you have heard from me, with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. 2 Timothy 1:13-14 BSB
Praise the LORD that as believers in Jesus Christ we have been given the Holy Spirit to help us remember the sound teaching, faith, and love of Christ Jesus.
Recently, I attended a conference where Susan Heck spoke about discipline. She gave an acrostic for the word DISCIPLINE to help us be diligent studying God’s word. I am sharing her acrostic with you, but am sharing my own experience about each one (hopefully, it will encourage you). To hear what Susan Heck speaks about each key point, please view the video at the bottom of this page.
D- Desire for the word and delight in prayer
There is hope if you don’t desire to read God’s word. Even if you pick up the bible because you know it is a sure fire way to fall asleep quickly, there is still hope for you. Pray about it and ask God to give you a desire for His word. And He will!
Friends, let’s encourage one another. If you too once did not have a desire to read God’s word, but God has changed your heart …then please leave encouragement for others who may read this article at the bottom of this article.
2. I – Idols removed
Are you prone to placing anything in your life before God? Mothers’ lives revolve around children. Even as you sleep, you listen for their calls. Your children are the first thing you check on in the morning and the last thing before you drop into bed exhausted.
Mothers adore their children. That’s why we spend hours on the field in the hot sun watching their games and hours in the car transporting them to all their activities. But let’s reflect on the minutes, days, and hours devoted to time spent with our children or other things (we all have different things that may be an idol in our lives). If children, sports, or other things are constantly on your mind, and you haven’t thought of God today…there may be an unbalance in your life. Anything that hinders your time spent with God may be an idol. It might not be a person for you. Maybe it’s a favorite pet, a boat, car, or any type of hobby. Golf, football, or baseball could be an idol in someone’s life.
Once the idol has been identified, we need to remove it’s position at the center of our hearts. Only the LORD should sit on the throne of our heart. Not our children or our husband, but our God. If this is a struggle for you too, confess to God, He already knows. Of course your children do not need to be removed from your life. They only need to be removed from sitting on the throne of your heart. Allow God to take His rightful position in your life.
3. S- Spend ample time
The hardest part is getting started. To sit down and pick up my bible instead of the computer or the television remote. While it’s true that spending 5 minutes praying or reading is better than none at all…we shouldn’t limit ourselves. Christine, a wife and mother, shares 16 ways you can fit more Bible into your day.
4. C -Cultivate Daily Habits
What habits do we need to cultivate? Here are a few:
Meet with people who encourage you with God’s word (Hebrews 10:25).
Come close to Jesus to listen to what He says (Luke 15:1).
Confess our sins (1 John 1:9).
Commit matters to the one who judges fairly instead of retaliating or threatening (1 Peter 2:23).
Pray for one another (James 5:16).
Serving one another (Galatians 5:13).
5. I- Interpretation should be proper context.
In the same way we would not want someone to pluck one of our sentences from our mouth and interpret it in their own way. We need to be cautious about plucking out bible verses from a chapter and interpreting it. We may need to read the chapter before the verse as well as the chapter after the verse in order to understand the meaning of the verse.
6. P- Pray before, during, and after reading your bible.
Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 BSB
7. L- Let Holy Spirit Teach
We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. And this is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 1 Corinthians 2:13-14 BSB
In order to allow the Holy Spirit to teach us what God is speaking to us through his scripture, we need to pray asking the Holy Spirit to teach us.
When the Advocate comes, whom I (Jesus) will send to you from the Father— the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father— He will testify about Me (Jesus) John 15:26 BSB.
8. I – Increase your Knowledge of God
9. N- Never think that you already know, studied, or heard…
10. E- Endeavor to live out what you are Learning
May I Pray For You?
Heavenly Father, we praise you for you are almighty in power, Holy, and Merciful.
I thank you for giving us a spirit that encourages us to be bold and self-disciplined. Your power enables us to be these things even though it not our nature.
We ask that you give us a desire for you and your word. Reveal to us any idols that hinder us spending time with you. Help us to manage our time wisely to spend ample time with you in prayer, so we can learn from your scripture with the Holy Spirit’s teaching. Give us courage to live out what we learn from you Lord.
In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.
VIEW DILIGENCE IN THE WORD BY SUSAN HECK
This post was inspired by Susan Heck when she spoke about Diligence in the Word at Cornerstone Church. View her teaching on youtube.
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