This morning, I was thinking about "discipline." As I looked online and in my Strong's concordance, it confirmed what I had been thinking That the notion of "self-discipline" maybe isn't really Biblical! There is LOTS in the Bible about discipline and LOTS about self-control, but only in a couple of translations in one verse (2 Tim. 1:7) will you find the term "self-discipline" and even there, the original Greek word is actually usually translated as either "discipline" or "self-control".
The more I think about it, the more absurd the idea of "self-discipline" becomes. Teaching and training are really at the heart of "discipline". God disciplines us to teach us, parents discipline their children, teachers and coaches discipline their students. "Discipline" also implies that the one being disciplined is (in one way or another) a disciple of the one teaching them. Now, apply this idea to the concept of "self-discipline" andit means I am teaching myself and/because I am a disciple of myself. It's ALL ABOUT ME. YIKES & YUCK!!!!! (And if I know enough to teach myself anything, why do I need to change in the first place???)
However, if I am a disciple of Jesus and my Loving Heavenly Father is disciplining me, it is HIS discipline I need to submit to AND my focus isn't on self, it's on HIM. HIS yoke is easy and His burden is light and I am learning from HIM, following HIM, wanting to be like HIM! (Isn't this SOOO much better?????) The responsibility shifts from being on ME to teach myself to GOD teaching and transforming me. What a relief! What freedom!
OK, so what about "self-control"? Well, here's the best part! "Self-control" is a FRUIT of the SPIRIT (Galatians 5:22-23) and it grows in us AS WE ABIDE IN JESUS. Jesus said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." John 15:5, 7-8 (NIV) "Self-control" grows in us as we spend time with God, receiving His love, His correction, His instruction, His wisdom, His Spirit and His power! He is the One who changes us as we focus on Him, as we surrender to Him, as we trust Him and love Him. I am so excited about this that I can hardly sit still. It makes me want to dance and praise God for how much He loves me and cares for me and longs for me to be free in Him.
The last thing I thought of today is how my "self" is NEVER satisfied. My "self" is a berating tyrant. My "self" can either be starving and begging for sin, or it can be demanding for me to be better and do better and try harder because even my best is never good enough. If I am seeking to serve and satisfy mySelf, I will never succeed no matter how hard I try. But PRAISE GOD, when I am trusting God and following and believing Him, I don't ever have to be good enough on my own!!!!! Like I talked about here, I will always sin and fall short of God's glory, SO God sent Jesus so I could be FREELY justified by HIS GRACE. Hallelujah!
Lord Jesus, Almighty Father, Holy Spirit, fill me with your power today. Discipline me and teach me to be like You as I walk with You, trusting You and receiving Your love and being transformed and set free by Your truth. Thank You, thank You, thank You for saving and forgiving and transforming and loving me. Your truth truly is setting me free!