As we open the door to a fresh new year, most people get caught up in the trap of making new “resolutions” and lofty expectations they simply will not uphold to. Most of us will set out to lose weight, make new friends, or even improve certain personality traits, but far too many don’t see the new opportunity it gives us. Being a strong Christian, I find myself devoting time to so many hobbies and interests that better me or even my future self. The one aspect that’s on my To Do List: become more self-disciplined. Let’s look at what the word actually means to faith and fitness.
Discipline is derived from the Greek word sophronismos or sophron meaning “safe thinking” or having a “sound mind.“ We see a lot of people talking about how being disciplined is action-based and “doing the right thing”. What if I told you it’s about thinking the right things? 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” But what this verse shows us is that the way to Biblical self-discipline is not found simply in doing, but in the thinking behind the action.
The “spirit of discipline” that we’ve been given is one of a sound mind leading to sound action. It makes perfect logical sense, but there lies the problem. We think, but do not act, or act, but do not think. Instead, we so often focus on our love of comfort, our fear of pain, or our unease with change. Many times we make choices that are just plain stupid. Maybe it’s a “minor” thing like choosing to procrastinate – or a major thing like deciding to have an affair. We don’t make decisions with a sound mind.
Being disciplined up top and can alter your entire way of life. Preparing your meals ahead of time to ensure proper nutrition, setting aside a couple of hours to workout and giving God little bits of time throughout the day to keep your mind strong all have one common denominator: self-discipline.
Challenge yourself to wake up in the morning a few minutes early to do that reading, get in that run or make that egg white omelet for breakfast. The same Holy Spirit can give us this sound mind in other areas of our life where we need discipline. We consciously remember the effects of our small choices on our goals. We understand the benefits and drawbacks of our options and we live with discipline because we think with discipline.
(Image via OVH)