Summary: This Sermon is an adaptation from the book "The Twenty-one Indispensable Qualities of a Leader" by John Maxwell.

Self- Discipline

Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47-48; Acts 1:8;

2 Timothy 1:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:6; 1 Peter 1:13

August 16, 2003

I. I will say it again, we are all leaders in some way and if we are going to be the leaders that we are supposed to be, the first person that we have to lead is ourselves.

A. The Philosopher Plato said, "The first and best victory is to conqueror self."

B. That means that the victory that we have to win before win can win any other is the victory over ourselves. We have to learn self-discipline.

C. It is tough getting to the top, and not many people ever reach the place where they are considered the best at what they do, and even fewer people are considered by a lot of people to be the best ever.

D. But someone who has, is Jerry Rice. Jerry Rice has been called the best person to ever play wide receiver in professional football, and he has got all the records to prove it.

E. People who know him say he is a natural. Physically, his God-given gifts are incredible. He has what every coach would want in a receiver.

F. Hall of Fame Coach Bill Walsh says, "I don’t think that there’s been a guy equal to him physically."

G. But his physical ability alone is not what has made him great. The real key to his success has been his self-discipline.

H. Jerry Rice works day in and day out to prepare for football unlike any other player in the NFL.

I. The story of his ability to push himself started when he was in high school. The Coach of B.L. Moor High School, Charles Davis, had his players run twenty times up a forty-yard hill. On a particularly hot, muggy Mississippi day, Jerry Rice was ready to give up after eleven times, but as he started to sneak toward the locker room he realized what he was doing.

J. "Don’t quit" he told himself. "Because if you get into that mode of quitting, then you feel like it’s okay." He went back and finished his sprints, and he has never been a quitter since.

K. As a Professional football player, he has become famous for sprinting up another hill. This one is a tough 2.5 mile uphill park trail in San Carlos, California. Other top players try to keep up with him but they fall behind and are amazed at his stamina.

L. But that’s only a part of his routine. When other players are fishing and laying around during the off season Jerry Rice works out from seven in the morning until noon six days a week.

M. Somebody said once, "He is so well conditioned that he makes Jamie Lee Curtis look James Earl Jones."

N. NFL corner back Kevin Smith says, what other people don’t understand is that football is a twelve month thing with Jerry Rice. That’s the difference between the good and the great.

O. On August 31, 1997, Jerry Rice blew out his knee, and people thought that he was finished. Rod Woodson was the only player that had ever come back from a knee injury in the same season. He rehabilitated his knee in four and a half months. Jerry Rice did it in three and half months, and he continues to rack up records while he helps his team win.

P. Jerry rice is the perfect example of the difference between the good and the great, and that’s because he is the perfect example of self-discipline.

Q. No one ever achieves or maintains greatness without SELF-DISCIPLINE.

R. No matter how gifted a leader is, his gifts will never reach their maximum potential without self-discipline.

II. So what are some things that we can do to make self-discipline an asset in our life?


1. Anyone who does what they have to, only when they are in the mood, or when it is convenient will not be SUCCESSFUL.

2. And, people won’t follow someone with that attitude.

3. Someone once said, "To do important tasks two things are necessary; a plan and not quite enough TIME."

4. If you are a really a leader, I am sure that you have one of those handled already. You don’t have enough time, so all you need now is a plan.

5. If you can settle what is really important and release yourself from other things, it’s a lot easier to follow through on what is IMPORTANT, and that is the main principle of self-discipline.


1. When we talk about any highly disciplined person like Jerry Rice, it should make us realize that to be successful, self-discipline can’t be a one time event. It has to be a LIFESTYLE.

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