Tag Archive | 1 Corinthians

Discipline and Destiny


Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” —1 Corinthians 9:24-27, NKJV

I’m currently re-reading a leadership devotional that I have read two previous times—Handbook to Leadership: Leadership in the Image of God.

This was one of the books on my reading list, along with a leadership Bible, when I first began my doctoral program. Although some classes had biblically based texts, I don’t recall having assigned readings from this particular devotional during the three years of classwork. Superficially, it would appear that the school wasted our money with this book and others like it, but I never interpreted things that way. I interpreted the requirement of the leadership devotional and the Bible as an implication that the college supported individual cultivation of our spiritual characters. They provided us with the tools, but in the end, it was up to us to use the material.

I enjoy reading the devotional. Sometimes it challenges me. Sometimes it confirms something I have been contemplating. Other times, the devotional acts like a commentary by helping me better understand a Biblical passage or concept.

Week 14’s theme was self-discipline. The authors defined this concept as “that quality that allows a person to do what needs to be done when he or she doesn’t feel like doing it” (Boa et al., 2007, p. 144). The definition is simultaneously simplistic and powerful. 

Think about it . . .

How often have we skipped doing something because we didn’t feel like it? I have noticed that a continued lack of discipline in one area will lead to a lack of discipline in others. This is a truth that I learned early in my adult life. If there is an area (or areas) in your life where you struggle with discipline, take inventory of your spiritual life. “Our spiritual lives form the core of our character. . . . Paul trained for his daily spiritual journey like a world-class athlete. Why? Because he wanted to have the self-control to finish the race without being disqualified” (Boa et al., 2007, p. 138).

God only wants the best for His children. Without discipline, progress on anything will remain stagnant. What can you learn from Paul’s words to help you move into your destiny?


Out of Control


“Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls,” Proverbs 25:28

This is the first year in decades that I have made what some would call a New Year’s Resolution. In actuality, I made it around November 30 and started December 1. What was it? I decided to give up cookies, cake, and candy for a year. (Officially, candy wasn’t added until January.) The decision came a few days after my mom’s 73rd birthday celebration. We ordered a full sheet cake and had about a fourth of it left over. It was the best cake ever!  For real, no lie! That cake was good. So good that the leftovers didn’t last long. I don’t remember eating it all by myself, but apparently, I did because no one else in my household had any and they were sure to let me know. (I tried convincing them that I sacrificed myself to save them from all the extra calories, but they didn’t quite buy it!)

Embarrassed by my gluttony, I knew something had to change. Furthermore, I started looking through my workout logs and saw the years of sweat and sometimes tears I had invested in physical fitness. Yet, my problem areas were no less a problem because my workouts had only been helping me break even after filling my body with junk. I knew I had to change my habits and not on a future date like after my birthday . . . after Christmas . . . after the New Year. I decided to make the change immediately.

In 1 Corinthians 6:19, Paul refers to the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit (NKJV). Though he’s speaking against sexual immorality in that passage, it doesn’t change the fact that we must take care of our bodies in every manner.  Now, let me be clear and say that eating cake isn’t a sin. The reason I took this drastic measure is because I can’t handle the responsibility of eating such things at this time in my life. When it comes to sweets, I don’t seem to understand the concept of moderation. If I did, I wouldn’t have eaten all the cake by myself or — and this is really bad — use a knife to scrape the leftover icing from the box and eat that, too, after the cake was gone. (I know . . . sad!)

Each of us has a different threshold for something. I can’t handle sweets, but yours could be something else. For instance, listening to certain music or watching shows that you know don’t sit well with your spirit. Or, for some people, it could be friendships in which you find yourself doing and saying things that you normally wouldn’t do if you weren’t around a particular individual. Only you and God know what you need to say “no” to. Only you can make the decision as to whether or not you will.

For me, the issue was lack of self-control, which is one of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Experience has taught me that lack of self-control in one area will lead to a lack of self-control in others. While I’m still not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions, I understand why people make them. It’s a way for a fresh start. Personally, I don’t like the idea of waiting until January to make necessary changes in one’s life. Sometimes action needs to be taken immediately. If you have become defenseless to something or someone ruling your spirit, don’t wait until next January 1 to make a change. Start now!