February 15, 2017
There is something refreshing about a person who has consistent self-discipline. Most likely they do not talk about it – we become aware of it by observation over time. Their life habits are consistently positive and their influence is quiet but forceful. Galatians 5:23 uses another descriptive word with the same idea: self-control.
Evidence of self-discipline is found in practical areas of daily living – moderation in food and drink, management of money, priorities in the use of time, and choice of relationships. Lack of extremes combines with calculated plodding, resulting in a calm and unhurried lifestyle that finishes many assignments in a timely manner.
A danger of self-discipline is to become so regimented and focused that we are out of touch with the reality of people’s lives. I am reminded of a roommate in college whose schedule was planned to the minute – literally. If 6:00 p.m. was the time we agreed to walk to dinner, and I was still putting on my shoes, he would leave without me. Apparently, a conversation was not as important as his schedule.
There are people so committed to a disciplined financial plan that they cannot enjoy any personal pleasures outside of their budget. And sometimes hospitality is neglected when our preferences are placed ahead of someone who needs our listening ear. Self-discipline should enhance our usefulness to people, not reduce it. Discretion brings balance.
Our culture is so into communication by technology that personal conversations can be few and far between. This calls for self-discipline, because it would be foolish to completely avoid technology – if that were possible. Too much TV is harmful, but smashing our set is probably extreme. Discretion helps us balance self-control with common sense to find the proper use of these tools.
I doubt that the Bible gets the proper time with a lot of Jesus’ followers. But to spend time reading when we are supposed to be studying for an exam or earning our salary would not show appropriate discretion. Self-discipline is a controlled life experience that includes balance, perspective and usefulness.
Pastor Bill Ehmann