“But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . self-control . . .”
— Galatians 5:22–23
Here’s a tough question for you: How much self-discipline do you have? Do you make goals for yourself and regularly meet them, or do you find yourself sidetracked by diversions more often than not?
The Scripture says that the one who rules his or her spirit is better than the one who takes a city. Great men and women have always had an extraordinary amount of self-discipline. Stop and consider the discipline it took for William Carey, that great pioneer missionary, to translate the Scriptures into forty or so languages. David Livingstone needed discipline to continue for twenty-nine thousand miles across the continent of Africa, even when the natives begged for time to rest. George Washington led a successful life. Did he owe his success to coincidence? Was it due to being in the right place at the right time? Some might pass it off that way, but if you look more closely, you’ll see that Washington had an amazing amount of self-discipline. He arose promptly at four in the morning. He led a disciplined devotional life. By half past eight in the morning, he had already completed most of the day’s work. He went to sleep early each night. He allowed the Spirit to control his mind.
If we want to accomplish all that God has called us to do, we need to pursue self-discipline. And since we tend to make resolutions for self-discipline at the dawn of each new year, let me suggest one: Watch very little television this year. While some programs are downright anti-Christian in their morality, much of television is simply a waste of time. Recently I heard about a talented Christian speaker and writer. Though he was relatively young, he was writing his forty-first book. One of the keys to his prolific achievements was that he didn’t spend any time watching television. A recent study of many CEOs from Fortune 500 companies found that eighty-one percent of them watch less than one hour of television per day. That’s far less than the average viewer. Think of how much you could accomplish if you acquired this discipline.
Today, ask God to show you how He’d like to develop self-discipline in you. Then allow God to work in your life in whatever way He desires so that you might glorify Him with the fruit of self-control.
“Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”