“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?