Summary: A man welcomes and embraces self-discipline. He will use self-discipline as a means of accomplishing God’s purposes in his life, understanding that the flesh prefers indifference over discipline.
Well, gentlemen, today we are in attribute number 4 of a Man of God – Strategizing self-discipline. And as promised, I am going to share a verse with you each time – one from something Jesus did, and something that he said that help us to make this attribute real for us. Something that both Jesus did and said, that makes it an attribute of becoming a man of God.
The first verse I want to draw your attention to is Luke 5:16. This is something Jesus did. It says here in these words, “But he would withdraw to desolate places to pray.” This is what Jesus did. He strategized his self-discipline. Matthew 6:6 though, is Jesus’ commandment to us. He says, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who isn’t secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
You see, Jesus is not only strategizing his own self-discipline as a man of God. He’s encouraging us to do the same. To make a plan, to build a plan. And to act on that plan, as part of our strategy for disciplining our own life. Here is my description of attribute number 4. A man welcomes and embraces self-discipline. A man welcomes and embraces self-discipline.
He will use self-discipline as a means of accomplishing God’s purposes in his life. Understanding that the flesh prefers indifference over discipline. The goal is to keep the prize in sight while becoming more obedient to the spirit, and less obedient to our flesh. The end goal is always to fulfill the purposes of God. In the private place of a man’s life, he exhibits this in prayer, study, reflection, confession, service, worship, and fasting – as the chief disciplines of his life.
Now, gentlemen, this topic makes me ask the question – what keeps Christian men from living their life with self-discipline? What keeps us from it? I just want you to think about that question just for a moment. Because I assume that there are all kinds of reasons that you have for not being more self-disciplined in your life. Tell me if one of these 10 tickles your fancy on this question.
Number 1 – maybe it’s not just a real priority for you? I mean, honestly, if you were just to get brutally honest with yourself – would you say that maybe one of the reasons that you do not strategize self-discipline in your life, is it’s just not a real priority for you. You’ve never intentionally scheduled anything like this in your life. And there’s plenty of other pressing and urgent issues for you.
Number 2 – maybe you lack accountability? Maybe there’s no real accountability in your life?
Number 3 – maybe you lack motivation? Maybe you’re not very self-motivated, or you lack true heartfelt motivation in your life?
Number 4 – maybe you don’t understand the perceived value of the hard work that is going to pour itself out in your life through self-discipline?
Number 5 – maybe you undervalue community and brotherhood, and maybe overvalue doing life alone?
Number 6 – maybe you’ve fallen for the deception of the easy life? Thinking that maybe – well, earthly values and earthly issues and earthly rewards are actually worth more than the eternal benefits of the long obedience? And it’s just easy for you, and you’ve bought into the lie.
Number 7 – maybe it’s hard? I mean this is a truism of it. Self-discipline is hard.
Number 8 – maybe the rewards aren’t tangible enough for you? I mean you can see the tangible rewards of hard work in this life, but you can’t see the tangible rewards of the hard work and self-discipline – spiritual self-discipline, the pay off later on.
Number 9 – maybe it’s because it’s a marathon and not really a sprint. And so, therefore, the marathon is not as enticing as the short sprints and the short-term rewards. And number 10, well number 10 is this – it’s the internal guilt and shame that we all feel when we have unreal expectations of yourself in the area of self-discipline? Maybe that’s what it is?
It could be any one of these 10 reasons, that maybe strike a chord with you. And maybe 1 of these 10 are 1 of the 10 that you need to address today. I just want you to reflect on this short little anecdote here. It’s from the life of Gary Player, the professional golfer that many of us probably know. Some of us know better than others, but we can all say that Gary Player was one of the most successful international golfers of all time.
And Gary was always approached by how incredible he was at playing the game of golf. Gary Player heard this multiple times I think in his lifetime. And numerous people approached him and said these words. “I’d give anything if I could hit a golf ball like you.” After one particularly grueling day on the course, someone – again – made this comment to him.