For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
Two years ago, our electric provider contracted a tree service to prune branches that posed a safety hazard due to the leaves surrounding the electrical wires. I was overwhelmed with sadness as the saw buzzed and the majority of the smaller nut-bearing branches fell to the ground. Our beautiful tree was left only with its robust arms and a few spindly branches that were not capable of bearing pecans.
Yes, I realized that safety was first and foremost; however, I was drowning in my emotional response and not thinking clearly. What I failed to realize is vegetation grows wild and uncontrolled without pruning. Today, the pecan tree has filled out with new branches that have grown toward the house. Now we have an abundance of shade that shields us from the sun’s scorching rays, consequently giving us a reduced electric bill.
God has given us the ability to prune out-of-control behaviors with self-discipline.
As we listen and read the hurtful words, and the destructive actions of those who lack discipline and self-control, one can only wonder how to answer this phenomenon. What causes human beings who were created with the highest functioning brain to act beneath all animal life? The phrase that “a person acts like a wild animal” when used to describe individuals without self-control is highly inaccurate.
1. (of an animal or plant) living or growing in the natural environment; not domesticated or cultivated.
Many have had the opportunity to travel and view African wildlife; others like me have to rely on watching animal life documentaries. Even so, every species of the animal kingdom has structure and discipline; animals reproduce, love, nurture, protect their young and families, and live in peace within their communities. Unless another male attempts to invade the alpha male’s territory or hunger triggers the instinct to feed, causing them to hunt for food, animal behaviors are consistent.
Possessing an optimal level of health, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically is impossible without self-control and discipline.
People with a higher degree of self-control spend less time debating whether to indulge in behaviors detrimental to their health and make positive decisions more easily. They don’t let impulses or feelings dictate their choices. Instead, they make level-headed decisions. As a result, they tend to feel more satisfied with their lives. Deep Patel May 2019
Self-discipline gives you the power to stick to your choices and follow them through, without changing your mind, and is, therefore, one of the important requirements for achieving goals. … This ability leads to self-confidence, self-esteem, and inner strength, and consequently to happiness and satisfaction. https://triathlonlab.com/blogs/news/self-discipline-its-benefits-and-importance-sport-life
When making significant changes, the focus must be on yourself. It is your face in the mirror. Using excuses to blame others, circumstances, prior life experience, or your childhood will prevent you from achieving growth, and most importantly, Eternal life.
God does not expect us to bear the burden alone to possess the fruit of the Spirit: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law…Galatians 5:22-23.
God tells us to rely on His strength when we decide to change our unpleasant traits and ungodly behaviors. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now, I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9.
The Apostle Paul earnestly prayed for God to take away “a thorn in his flesh.” So, we are not distracted regarding God’s perfect plan for our lives; Paul did not disclose his physical malady only that God’s grace and power would see him through his suffering. The same God who promised Paul that He would use His strength to live with his condition is the same God who will enable us to learn self-control.
Remember, when we commit to change and possess godly attributes, we will be severely tried and tested. Prayer unleashes God’s power! We will always gain the victory over sinful thoughts and actions when we trust and obey God. Believe, exercise self-control, and receive the blessings of living by faith!
22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:22-24
Bible Reading: Ephesians 4
God, we pray for the opening of our spiritual eyes to recognize all undesirable character traits. It is our desire to be more like you and to seek after righteousness. Amen. –SJR