Jim Rohn, the late motivational speaker, said failure is rarely the outcome of some remote event, rather it is a result of a long list of accumulated little or no self-discipline. Also, “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” Therefore, no personal success, goal, achievement can be realized without the practice of self-discipline. It is by far the most important factor needed to achieve excellence in all aspect of our lives.
Self-discipline is not very easy to cultivate but when developed, it becomes natural. To possess it, is to be able to make the right decisions, follow through with plans regardless of the obstacles, discomfort or difficulties that may come along the way.
WHAT IS SELF DISCIPLINE
It’s the ability to control ourselves in the management of our time, energy and resources in the pursuit of our dreams. (Kindly refer to these sermons: “Maximizing Time” by Pastor Lanre on Sunday May 15th, 2016 and “Understanding the Time” by Pastor Ayo on Sunday May 22nd, 2016, as time management is very key in realizing self-discipline).
It is being able to turn down immediate pleasure and satisfaction in favour of achieving the long-term goal. In other words, it can be self-denial. Romans 12:1-2 says, offering ourself as a living sacrifice to God which is the true worship. I wonder how possible it is to do that without self-discipline. We need to be dead to pleasures and desires of the world but do only that which pleases God.
Galatians 5:24; And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. These bible verses emphasizes the importance of self-denial. We have to forfeit the short-term pleasures of our flesh for eternal life with Christ Jesus. This is also applicable to our daily activities at work, school, home, and wherever we find ourselves. Most people always say ‘well, even if I sin, God’s grace is sufficient for me, so, God will still forgive me”, however, the book of Romans 6:1 says, what shall we say then, shall we continue in sin, that His grace may abound? So to discontinue sin and achieve success, the attitude of self-discipline cannot be over-emphasized.
The worst enemy of self-discipline is procrastination. Most times we know what we want and probably the plan in achieving them. Usually, before we embark on things we ought to do, we always decide to take a break to a wonderful place called ‘someday isle’. ‘From tomorrow, I’ll stop coming late’, ‘next 3 days I’ll start studying my bible’, ‘next week I’ll start joining the prayer line/meeting’, ‘I would start reading for my exams from next week’ etc. At least 70% of the population live on this someday isle. When we look around, the main cause of this someday isle is excuses & justification:;we sit around and swap excuses for being on the island. We have to realize that there are always excuses if we need to make up some for not doing what we have to do. If people put as much energy into achieving their goals as they spend making excuses for failure, they would actually surprise themselves. But first, we have to master the attitude of self-discipline, which is key to achieving great success.
John 15:1-12; God loves productive people, but then how can we even be productive and bear fruits for Christ if we do not cultivate the habit of self-discipline. The word remain/ abide was repeatedly used, because it’s usually easy to begin something but to remain or continue is usually difficult. This is the reason we see many people come to church but fall off after a month or a couple of months. It takes only the grace of God to be able to start and continue with something even in marriage/relationships. Self-discipline usually produces more grace.
Also, we can see a perfect display of self-discipline in the life of Apostle Paul. In 1 Corinthians 9:19-27, he set a goal to win as many souls as possible for God. He developed a plan and displayed self-discipline in achieving it even though the process was difficult.
When we master the power of self-discipline, we will become unstoppable, and like force of nature, we will never make excuses for not making progress. We will accomplish more in the next few months/years than most people will accomplish in a lifetime. Just as a horse cannot be moved unless it is harnessed, and an engine cannot operate unless it is fueled, a life cannot become great if not disciplined.