Tag Archive | leadership

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?


Christianity and the Development of Character, Scholarship, and Leadership

“We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope,” Rom. 5:4, NKJV

Character. Scholarship. Leadership. Those are fundamental tenants of the doctoral program in which I am enrolled. As I reflect on these principles, I see that they not only apply to my educational journey but also to my spiritual journey.

Character is the core of our being. It’s the thing that determines if a person handles accomplishments with humility or pride. Character reveals if someone is trustworthy, honest, or values loyalty. Character is not who others think we are, but it’s who we are when no one is watching. While we can fool others sometimes, we can never deceive God because He sees our hearts.

In my doctoral program, scholarship refers to the program’s aim to train students how to have informed views (as opposed to believing something without knowing why) and then to appropriately apply what we learn. As I think about scholarship in relation to my spiritual walk, I am drawn to Paul’s instructions to Timothy in 2 Tim. 2:15 (NKJV) to “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” As Christians, we must be assiduous about studying Scripture so that we can correctly apply the Word to our lives and share it with others. As we learn and internalize the Word, it will have a profound impact on our character.

Finally, leadership involves having influence and power over others. The Bible shows examples of how leadership was used for good and for evil. For example, when David was king, he used his power for self-serving interests when he took advantage of Bathsheba and subsequently arranged for her husband to be killed (2 Sam. 11). We also see positive examples of David’s leadership throughout Scripture. One instance that stands out to me is how David carefully instructed Solomon about Solomon’s new role before David passed away (1 Kings: 1–9). As king, David had led many others, but at that moment he was leading his son.

Leadership is multi-dimensional. A person doesn’t have to have a title to be a leader. Furthermore, one’s leadership can be passive (1 Pet. 3:1). The bottom line is that we never know who’s watching us and the impact that our behavior will have on others. It is important that leaders be persons of good character. As we see in David’s life, there’s a dichotomy of good and bad that can exist within a single person. Yet, even with his shortcomings, David was still a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22).

Our character is shaped by our life experiences and how we respond to them. I’m not necessarily shouting “Amen” right here because experiences can be painful. It would be great to skip the experiences and get to the end result. (By the way, it would be nice to receive my doctorate by avoiding the tuition payments, long hours of studying, and writing of many papers, but that ain’t gonna happen!) Rom. 5:4 makes it apparent that our character is shaped by our trials. As you go through your character-building experiences, cling to the Word. Not only will you build your own spiritual muscles, but you have no idea how the way you walk through your journey will impact others.