Vital to the servant of God’s life and ministry is self-discipline. No matter how able, educated or gifted a person is, he will never fulfill the call of God on his life, or reach your goal, without self-discipline.
It is interesting that Paul addresses this issue of self-discipline early on in his last words to Timothy, reminding him that God has given us “a spirit of . . . self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7, NLT). He knew that in order to be effective in ministry and fulfilling the call of God, one must bring the outer man under control.
If we are to follow in the footsteps of Christ as His disciples, we must be people of self-discipline. Notice how disciple and discipline come from the same root word, showing us what type of people the Lord’s servants must be.
Consider, for example, how an athlete trains for the Olympics. The decision to compete is never made at the last minute—it always comes from a life lived year after year training in his particular event. This discipline is ingrained into his fabric of life, and the sacrifices it demands are worth the goal he strives for.
It is self-discipline—not a person’s wishes or dreams—that empowers him to accomplish great things.
And so it is with us. The road marked out before us is steep and narrow. It is a road of suffering, yet one that leads to “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8, KJV). As we discipline ourselves to daily seek Jesus through His Word, we will be transformed into His nature. When we choose to live in the fear of the Lord—staying close to Him and living in obedience—we will obtain . And as we take time to cry out to God for the , we will find ourselves equipped for all He’s given us to do.
All along the way, there will be voices calling out from each side of us to forsake the and walk an easier path, one of less resistance and less self-discipline. What that brother or sister is doing or how they are living may be okay, but for you, there is a higher calling.
Choose to be different. Remember the goal before you and discipline yourself so as to run in a way to reach your goal.
Dr. KP Yohannan, founder and director of Gospel for Asia, has written more than 200 books, including Revolution in World Missions, an international bestseller with more than 4 million copies in print. His Road to Reality radio program airs on more than 200 outlets worldwide. He and his wife, Gisela, have two grown children, Daniel and Sarah, who both serve the Lord with their families.
Gospel for Asia has been serving the “least of these” in Asia since its beginning in 1979, often in places where no one else is serving. GFA supports national workers who are serving as the hands and feet of Christ by ministering to people’s needs so they can understand the love of God for them for the first time. GFA is engaged in dozens of projects, such as caring for poor children, slum dwellers and widows and orphans; providing clean water by funding wells; supporting medical missions; and meeting the needs of those in leprosy colonies. Through GFA’s Bridge of Hope Program, tens of thousands of children are being rescued from the generational curses of poverty and hopelessness.
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