Summary: Christ calls the believer to take up his cross daily...
The Necessity of Self Discipline
Dr. Russell K. Tardo
Discipleship means discipline. The words are synonymous. That the words sound alike is no coincidence because a disciple is a disciplined one, a pupil.
Even the very angels have been given responsibilities. They are given charge over the believers.
11For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. 12They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. [Ps. 91:11-12]
The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. [Ps. 34:7]
The angels have a self-imposed discipline, and as believers, we are to have exactly the same type.
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. [Lk. 9:23]
I. The Application of Discipline
Believers are to discipline themselves in all areas, i.e., eyes, ears, minds, and hearts. The application of the word discipline in this context means to divide, to separate, to choose.
A. Discipline Your Ears:
Choose carefully what you decide to listen to. One cannot listen to truth and error at the same time, so discern what truth is and make that a priority. Don’t allow Satan to steal your victory by listening to the evil report, to gossip, criticism, or ridicule of others.
B. Discipline Your Eyes:
Be selective in what you look at. Don’t allow yourself to be drawn into lustful thoughts by looking at people, movies, television programs, etc. that might cause your mind to sin. The wise believer will also choose to be a selective reader, weeding out what is unprofitable, what is worldly trash.
C. Discipline Your Mind:
Watch those thoughts! Guard your mind and don’t let your thoughts wander onto subjects that should not be part of a Christian’s thoughts. Also be careful to weed out those thoughts that are sheer fantasy, frivolous, and generally a waste of time.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. [Phil. 4:8]
D. Discipline Your Appetites:
24Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. [1 Cor. 9:24-25]
All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. [1 Cor. 6:12]
Believers are not bound by dietary laws and restrictions as they were under the Law. They are, however, to practice temperance, i.e., self-control, and moderation in eating and other fleshly appetites.
E. Discipline Your Tongue:
[Scripture Reference: James, chapter 2.] The believer’s words are powerful and one’s words are vital in determining whether one lives in defeat or in victory. Remember that you have the choice of being blessed or cursed, that it’s up to you to direct and control your tongue. Speak life-giving, not life-destroying words.
II. Redeem the Time
11And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. [Eph. 5:11-17]
Christians should impose discipline upon their time. We should all desire and work hard to use our time wisely.
A. Through Study of the Word of God:
Believers should redeem the time in the Word through regular, consistent, systematic study of the Word of God. Make a schedule to study the Bible and follow it.
Study to show thy self approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [2 Tim. 2:15]
Suggested topics for study include:
Theology Books of the Bible Ethics
Surveys Church History The Blood of Jesus
The New Birth Healing Holiness
The Flesh Prayer Praise
Repentance Love End-time Events
Grace Prophecy Languages (Hebrew, Greek)
Discipline your mind by taking notes, thereby avoiding passive listening. Also, avoid passive reading by reading with your highlighter in hand and perhaps even your notebook and pen.