Essentials of Godly Success – 3
Discipline: Victory over Your Self!
SCRIPTURE: 1 Cor. 9:24-27 (NKJV)
24Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
We are sharing in this series elements that will lead you to success in the different realms and compartments of your life.
Discipline is a deal-breaker.
The Four D’s of Discipline.
Disciple is in the word discipline
o Jesus told us that our main job is to make disciples – Matthew 28:19
o A disciple in the Greek means a learner
o We are to learn self-control.
o Self-control was the first fruit of the Spirit that I noticed when I was saved (Give verse)
o I have heard many testify that the first thing they noticed or felt in their spirits was love. Since, love is the first fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Gal. 5:22, this is entirely scriptural. But, it was not the first thing that I noticed.
2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)
7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
o There were areas of my life that I was trying to control through will power before I was saved and I was unable to do it. However, immediately after as I was reborn, I knew I had control. I could feel it. I could sense it. I could say ‘No’ and it would stick!
o To say that you are disciple and yet have no control is a contradiction of terms.
o A disciple is a disciplined one
Try to be a disciple of Jesus without discipline and you will find that it just doesn’t work. Unless you have the right plan, some things just don’t work!
o You must have the right plan for things to work. Part of the plan is for disciples to be disciplined.
o Salvation is free but being a disciple is expensive.
o Jesus wants disciples and not admirers.
o An admirer is the cheap edition of a disciple.
o Why is disciplined needed?
o There is an element in your being that:
o Wants to act in wrong way
o Wants to think in wrong channels
o Does not want to endure anything
o Does not want to pray about anything
o Does not want to do anything extra
o Does not want to deal with anything difficult
o In the Bible this element is called ‘the flesh.’
Luke 14:27 (ESV)
27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
o ‘Take up your cross’ is often associated with the phrase ‘that’s not my cross to bear.’ The phrase is unbalanced and out of context with how Jesus used it. They are not the same; taking up the cross is a way of expressing dying to what you want to do or your flesh wants to do.
o What does it mean to ‘carry the cross?’
o The cross is an instrument of death.
o A condemned criminal would be forced to “carry the cross” out to the site of the upright stake where he would be crucified, usually amid a jeering mob. No one would choose this fate for oneself.
o Jesus asks you to carry yours voluntarily as an act of devotion. But not only devotion, it is what is necessary to get the job done.
o Jesus calls true disciples to choose the cross and thus to hate their own lives by comparison with their devotion to him.
o In every Christian’s heart, there is a cross and a throne. No real living takes place until you get off the throne and get on the cross.
o We want to be saved and enjoy all the benefits of salvation, but we insist that Christ do all the dying; no cross for us, no dethronement, no dying. We remain king within our little kingdom.
o The cross is an instrument of restriction
o A crucified person cannot move on his own.
o Why live a restricted life?
Matthew 10:39 (AMP)
39 Whoever finds his [lower] life will lose it [the higher life], and whoever loses his [lower] life on My account will find it [the higher life].
o Restriction means life!
o Restriction is one of the great opposites in the realm of God
o If you want to get ahead, sit back
o If you want to be the greatest, be a slave to others
o If you want to be free, restrict yourself.
o We are the most free when we are the most restricted. What is restriction to your flesh is liberty to your spirit.
o It is not as some people think, “I am going to enjoy life to the fullest” and then use that as a saying to indulge the flesh. Walking in the will of God is life to the fullest!
o Feeling better has become more important than finding God.
o Discipline means delayed gratification
o Delayed gratification is the process of scheduling the pain and the pleasure of life in such a way as to enhance the pleasure by meeting and experiencing the pain first and getting it over with.
o Delayed gratification is:
o Eating the peas you can’t stand first so that you can eat and enjoy the mashed potatoes and gravy.
o Doing the drudgery of homework first so that you can go out and play later.
o Eating all around a cake so you can eat the frosting last.
o Saving today so you can retire tomorrow
o Talking out marriage problems today so that you can flow in love tomorrow.
o Going to church this morning so the rest of your Sunday can be better.
o A season of pain today means an eternity of gain later.
o It is the ‘first’ principle as Jesus stated it.
Matthew 6:33 (ESV)
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
o Discipline causes development
o Discipline ourselves to read and stay in God’s Word brings two things:
John 8:31-32 (NKJV)
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
o Great fruitfulness
John 15:7 through John 15:8 (NKJV)
7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
o The greater the restriction, the greater the freedom;
o The greater the freedom, the greater the fruit
o The greater the fruit, the greater the life.