Stew on This: Pastor Resources (How to Stay Focused & Improve Self-Discipline)
The Bible consistently stresses the need for discipline to be fully formed as a follower of Christ. Self-control is an essential for living effectively and enjoyably. From family and finances, to faith and more, it impacts all areas of life. Due to heavy demands for ministry leaders and pastors, self-discipline is even more important.
“We have not advanced very far in our spiritual lives if we have not encountered the basic paradox of freedom, to the effect that we are most free when we are bound. But not just any way of being bound will suffice; what matters is the character of our binding,” (Dr. Elton Trueblood).1
The one who would like to be an athlete, but who is unwilling to discipline his body by regular exercise, is not free to excel on the field or the tracks. His failure to train rigorously denies him the freedom to go over the bar at the desired height or to run with the desired speed.
Discipline is the price of freedom. So, what are ways to improve self-discipline?
Pastor Resources: How to Stay Focused & Improve Self-Discipline
- Start small -Take baby steps in an area you determine needs better disciplined action. When you’ve finished those steps take larger ones. If you are not used to denying yourself, your indulgence will win over your discipline. Start with small successes and graduate to larger ones.
- Get organized -Become a personal planner. It sounds restrictive, but organizing your time, your space, and your projects leads to far greater productivity. It also reduces stress. Determine what is most important to do and plan when you will do it. It’s important to read your Bible. That is a non-negotiable for spiritual development. When will you do it? If something else comes up for that time – say no, unless it is an emergency. Then re-schedule your time.
- Finish what you’ve started -Do you have any half-done projects? Maybe the best place to start is to finish one of them, then tackle the next one. Begin with the smallest one that is easiest to finish. Then move to the next larger one.
- Ask for help -If you have a hard time saying “no,” seek input from someone else before you answer. If you are driven by a desire to be liked, you especially need input from others who lead more disciplined lives.
- Keep your word -If you said you’re going to do something, do it, when you said you would do it. In other words, be reliable. That’s becoming counter-cultural. How many times have you said, “I’ll be there,” but then you didn’t show up? Or, “I’ll do that,” but you didn’t do it. Giving in to other desires, urges, opportunities, and not following through on what you said you would do are symptoms of an undisciplined life.
It’s not enough to say, “yeah, I could use a little more self-discipline.” Application begins with action. In what areas will you exercise better discipline? Your spiritual growth and development requires living a disciplined life.
Elton Trueblood, “A quote from The New Man for Our Time,” Goodreads, accessed August 01, 2017, https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/920027-we-have-not-advanced-very-far-in-our-spiritual-lives.
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