Don't Wait Until You're Older: Delayed Adulthood (Part 7)- By Nate Keeler
I want share a blog post from my U.S. pastor on Self Discipline. He has been writing a series on "Delayed Adulthood" and I'm sure you will find his message helpful and encouraging.
Adulthood is not about age, relationship status, your bank statement or where you are on the corporate ladder. Adulthood is about spiritual, emotional and relational wholeness and maturity.
Self-discipline is a key mark of wholeness and maturity. I'm addressing self-discipline last because I believe it is a tethering point for all the other strings in this blog series. Self-discipline can be the difference between committing to a relationship or flaking out, paying off debt or splurging on temporary pleasures, kicking the porn addiction or falling off the wagon, or dealing with your forgiveness issue or letting it fester. I cannot stress enough the difference self-discipline makes in your growth toward maturity.
But for some of us self-discipline is really difficult isn't it? Some of us can take a look at our self-discipline track record and it's depressing! We rarely finish things we start—that workout program (P30x?), the Bible reading plan (stalled out at Numbers?), the New Year’s resolution to clean your apartment every week (tell that to the ring around your drain), the half-finished "Purpose Driven Life" book from your youth pastor eight years ago (still under your bed collecting dust?)—self-discipline maybe not your strong suit.
By nature, I don't think I'm a very disciplined person, but I learned the skill set through my 12 years as a wrestler growing up. Here are a few thoughts if you struggle with self-discipline.
The Spirit Produces Self-Discipline My coaches constantly trained us in technique, hard work and mental toughness. Guess what? 2 Timothy 1:7 and Galatians 5:23 both tell us that the Holy Spirit coaches us and helps develop self-discipline in our lives. He does this through illuminating the Scripture, convicting us of sin, and disciplining us like a loving father. Pray and ask Him to help you make commitments, take thoughts captive, focus on future results instead of indulging in instant gratification. You aren't alone in this battle!
A Team Makes a Big Difference Few people have enough self-discipline in isolation. We need vital relationships. Visit a high school wrestling room, and you will see a group of men committed to one another's success: constantly pushing each other, correcting each other, and competing with one another. Let me address the guys for a second—we know we need a team to excel in sports so why do we act like we don't need a team to excel in our spiritual lives? Hebrews 10:24 says, "Spur one another on toward love and good deeds." We need each other to spiritually thrive. So enough with the spiritual Rambo act, get in a discipleship group!
Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals Too often we make ridiculous goals and promises. "I'm going to read my Bible for 40 minutes every day even though I've never read it more than three days consecutively in my life!" Slow your role. Pump the breaks! My wrestling coach taught us to set goals that were specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time-bound. Recognize your next achievable step and aim at that!
Focus on the Payoff In the wrestling room we had a picture of the state championship winners podium. Our coach drilled into our heads that we need to picture ourselves standing on that podium and work like we belong there. One of my favorite images from Scripture comes from Hebrews 12:1-3. The author motivates us to persevere in the faith by showing us how Jesus was willing to endure the cross because of the joy set before him in being Savior of the world, seated at the throne of God. Don't grow weary because the payoff is worth it!