Today I read an article (sermon manuscript I believe) on Self Discipline by John MacArthur. It was fairly long, but the more I read and hear MacArthur, the more I enjoy him. It isn't because he is cool, or hip, or parachutes to the pulpit, or does cool videos, but simply because he knows the Word of God, and preaches it, unabashedly. This is what I want for my own life.
I won't get into the practical advice, because you can get that anywhere. The real things that hit me were the Biblical reasons for self discipline. There are three main principles that make-up the foundation of a biblical view of self discipline.
1. Remember who owns you. You are not in charge of you. In fact, not only are you not in charge of you, but you are a slave. You are a bondservant and slave of Christ. "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." (1 Cor 6:19-20) This is where we need to start. MacArthur goes on to say, "I'm convinced that until to understand that you don't own you, that somebody else has complete mastery and right over your life, you will not have the motivation to be a self-disciplined person."
2. Remember the covenant of your salvation. When you were saved, it wasn't just a one-sided thing. You asked Christ to come into your life and cleanse you from your sins, and become LORD and saviour of your life. Too often we fall in love with Jesus as our saviour... We sin and he saves... Which is true, but that is only part. We committed to living for Christ and dying to self. I don't believe that Jesus is your saviour if he isn't your Lord.
3. Obedience is part of faith. When Christ called to you, "repent and believe" you obeyed. "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Eph 2:10). We were created for good works. This means to obey. Faith without works is dead. MacArthur says, "If there aren't any of those good works, if there's no obedience, then there's no true saving faith".
This really challenged me as I am naturally very undisciplined. But face it Jamie... you are not in charge. You have been bought by Christ's blood. I need to preach to myself a lot!