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Discipline Determines Destiny

1Cor9 23-27


Scripture: 1 Corinthians 9:23-27


I. Introduction: As followers of Jesus Christ, it’s only right that you and I want to fulfill His purpose for our lives. But without discipline, the distractions of life interfere with our God-given destiny. Like athletes in training, we must exercise self-control and restraint—living with a specific goal in mind (1 Cor. 9:23-27). Simply wanting to fulfill God’s will for our lives is not enough. It is discipline, not just desire, which determines your destiny and mine.


II. Clarifying Terms

  1. Self-discipline is personal training that develops self-control and character, resulting in an orderly and efficient life. You and I must practice self-discipline in the power of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Divine discipline is God’s correction when we step out of His will or disobey Him (Heb. 12:5).


III. Why is Self-Discipline Necessary?

  1. Self-discipline is essential to godliness (1 Pet. 1:15; 1Tim. 4:7-8).
  2. Unless we submit our natural desires to the control of the Spirit, they will dominate our lives. Food, rest, companionship, and sexual intimacy are good things, but they must be surrendered to the Lordship of Christ.


IV. What can we expect when we fail to practice self-control?
And undisciplined life causes us to . . .

  1. Indulge our fleshly, carnal desires. Usually, we will find ourselves stepping out of God’s will if we fail to practice self-discipline.
  2. Become defensive about our sinful lifestyles.
  3. Hinder our health.
  4. Harm our finances and get into debt. Credit card companies thrive on undisciplined people.
  5. Perform poorly on the job. In extreme forms, a lack of discipline can result in job loss.
  6. Be overlooked for promotion. In contrast, discipline often prepares you for the next opportunity.
  7. Develop slothful habits.
  8. Speak recklessly.
  9. Arrive late.
  10. Waste time and energy. Live by a schedule, setting your priorities for each day and following through with them.
  11. Have a poor testimony. An undisciplined life compromises a believer’s witness (1 Cor. 9:27).


V. What is required for a disciplined life?

  1. Have a definite purpose. Goals clarify what disciplines are needed for achievement.
  2. Detach from things that draw you away from your goals.
  3. Pursue your objectives with diligence. Reflecting on the worthiness of your goals will help keep you on course.
  4. Be consistent. The full benefits of a self-controlled life can be found only through regular practice.
  5. Practice self-control. Even if you fail sometimes, continue to work on self-discipline.
  6. Say “no” in the strength of the Holy Spirit. Remember, the indwelling presence of the Spirit is available to empower you.


VI. Rewards of Discipline

  1. A more orderly and less stressful life. Self-discipline can increase your peace, joy, and confidence.
  2. Improved self-esteem. Setting and achieving goals will give you a sense of accomplishment.
  3. Increased productivity. A well-planned day is generally more fruitful.
  4. Better health. By eating right, exercising, avoiding drug and alcohol abuse, and getting proper rest, many illnesses can be avoided.
  5. Positive impact on others. When we live disciplined lives, we often inspire others to do the same. To this day, the foundation my mother laid in my life helps motivate me to work with excellence at whatever I do. In turn, I taught my son and daughter to be disciplined, which has helped them succeed as adults.
  6. Eternal reward. The most significant benefit of discipline will come from Jesus the day we stand before Him.


VII. How to Begin a Life of Discipline

  1. Spend time each day reading God’s Word.
  2. Make time for prayer. Wake up earlier or limit other activities in order to give God priority in your life.
  3. Tithe your income. By being disciplined and obedient with finances, we give the Lord the opportunity to build our faith.
  4. Attend worship every Sunday. Meeting with fellow believers to fellowship and study His Word deepens our relationships with Him.


VIII. Conclusion

The Lord designed you for a special purpose, one that will satisfy you like no other. Don’t allow your natural desires to hinder your ability to reach His purpose for you. The sacrifices of a well-disciplined life are nothing in comparison to the rewards of fulfilling your God-given destiny. It’s a prize well worth the training.


By Dr. Charles F. Stanley. Copyright 2011 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.