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All scriptures are taken from NKJV unless otherwise marked.
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice of fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind self-control].”
-2 Timothy 1:7 AMPC
Woo! We finally made it to the last fruit of the Spirit. If you’re new to the series, you can view the other parts by clicking here. Either way, I’m so proud that you want to grow in the area of discipline and self-control. Many people do NOT reach their full potential because they aren’t willing to sacrifice. Discipline hurts. I get it. “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:11).“
Discipline produces freedom. It can create the life we truly desire. Nothing will happen without an action first occurring. Once an action is taken, then a result can be produced. If you want a different result, you must carry out a new action.
“You can suffer the pain of change or the pain of remaining the same.”
The question is: Do you want to have a powerful, victorious life? Do you want to obey God in your everyday life? None of it will happen without self-control. No one can reach their goals without the sacrifice it requires. An athlete trains almost every single day. Those who win with money manage it daily. People who eat right commit to eating that way majority of the time. All of these things require self-control.
Although those things may sound difficult and boring, the result is worth it. Every time we use out muscle of Self Control, it grows. When we do something consistently, it becomes easier each time. Here are some ways that we can grow that muscle.
Sit Down And Make Your Goals Clear
Clear time in your schedule to brainstorm. What do you want in life? Where do you want to be in 10 years? 5 years? 1 year? Next month? Do you want to get in shape? Is there book you want to publish? Do you want to get out of debt? Maybe there’s a song you want to record. Whatever it is, write those goals down. Really think about what your life could be like.
How can you accomplish these goals? Set smaller, more attainable goals for each one. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, then make a goal to eat only three times a day. Maybe make a goal to cut out certain foods and drinks. A goal could be to refrain from eating before bedtime. Whatever the smaller goals can be, create them.
Your future can be created on paper by. You have control over what you decide to do with your life. The good news is you don’t have to feel like doing any of it to do it! Once you make the decision that you’re going to do it (especially once you start making progress), you will be determined to see it finished. Don’t talk about what you’re going to do, just do it.
No one knows what a day can bring. Many people die before they can see their dream come to pass and the world misses out on their great talent. So many books, songs, and teachings have gone to the grave with their creators. Don’t let that be you. Maximize your life while here on this earth.
Spend Time Praying When You Wake Up
Preparation for anything is necessary. We assemble our appearance before we go out the house. How much more should we spend time preparing our inward man? Go into your spiritual closet and clothe yourself with righteousness, grace, discipline, mercy, kindness, goodness, and the armor of God.
Once you become aware that you are lacking strength in an area, pray over it. Ask God to help you control your temper and not disrespect anyone with your lips. Pray that when temptation comes, God will show you how to get away from it.
You might have a sin problem that God has to help you overcome every day. Express the life you want to God and hand it over to Him. Pray and trust Him to assist you in every way. Anything that God tells you to do, He is more than able to equip you to conquer the task. Never stop praying for strength.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
The things we believe have tremendous power over our destiny. Likewise, the words we say can help us achieve our goals. Make a list of affirmations to say every morning that will help you receive what you want. Say things like, “I am a very disciplined person”, “I will resist the urge to (insert sin here) today”, and “I will exercise today.” Click here for a FREE printable of daily affirmation to walk in God’s promises.
Combine that with prayer and you’ll reach your goals for sure. Speaking things out loud about yourself will help renew your mind into believing you can. When doubt creeps in, cast it out and speak what you will accomplish. The enemy can’t win if you constantly resist him and remind him you will win. Pray it and say it. Then, do it.
Stop Making Excuses
It’s extremely easy to make up excuses when you find it difficult to carry out a task. Although I knew what God wanted me to do, I struggled with getting up early for a LONG time. Early morning was the only time I had to get work done without the baby constantly distracting me. But MAN, that bed feels so amazing when you’re tired.
My alarm would go off and I’d begin to make excuses like, “Well, I’m a little sick. I should rest,” or, “My body is sore from working out. I should let it heal.” One morning, I woke up to my alarm and had to use the bathroom. On my way back to the room, I was trying to find a reason to go back to sleep. The Holy Spirit said so clearly, “Stop making excuses. You just don’t want to stay up.”
It totally shocked me, but He was right. I was searching in the excuse bag for a reason to go back to sleep. We decided to change our bedtime and waking up early has gotten easier. Now, sleeping in means waking up at 8:00. There was a time I could sleep until 11:00 AM! Praise God for the transition in my life!
Remove the nonsense from your mind and your lips and do what God wants you to do. Don’t allow the enemy to steal your destiny from you. When God created you, He created you with a plan and a purpose. He gave you unique talents that no one else has. Only you can be you can carry out what you were placed here to do.
Remember Who You’re Doing It For
“So we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us; we [as Christ’s representatives] plead with you on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God.”
-2 Corinthians 5:20 AMPC
As God’s personal representative, we should ensure that we’re doing all we can to represent Him correctly. God’s not sloppy or disorganized. Whenever He gives His Word, you can be sure it’ll come to pass. We should take care of ourselves. Don’t be a sloppy Christian. We should entice the world to come to God. What do we have that is different from the rest of the world?
We can’t call people out of the world if we’re still in it ourselves. Why would anyone want to have God in their lives if we represent Him wrong? I’ve met a lot of believers who don’t attend church because of the pain they’ve felt through church members. It’s incredibly sad. That’s why Jesus was very hard on the religious people of His day. He told them, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in (Matthew 23:13).”
If you’re gonna call yourself a Christian, do your best to represent God correctly. We’ll never be perfect; that’s not what I’m telling you to do. But by growing in the fruits of the Spirit, you will become a tree of righteousness surviving off the Living Water, offering delicious fruit to those who pass you.
You’ve made it to the end of the series! I’m so proud of you. Don’t allow discouragement to rule over you. Continue to press on toward the finish line while fighting the good fight of faith. You can do this, for nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37). Good luck, and God bless.