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Self Control, Self Discipline - Issue 133
January 01, 2010
Hi there! ....

This week:
The highlight for this week would have to be Peter and my short trip out to visit some friends on a remote property. You can read about it and see some photos on my blog.

This week was also marked as a planning week. Peter and I spent an afternoon thinking about the projects and focuses we are going to have in the coming month. Peter’s work is very seasonal and he has very few bookings at this time of the year (it is generally too wet and boggy to work cattle during the wet season). This is the time of the year we often take a holiday but this year we are staying put, enjoying the wet season rains (hopefully more will come), and enjoying being home together. Our plan is to declutter the house and shed, maintain the garden and prepare for the coming year. We have planned these things because it is all too easy to find January slipped by and full of missed opportunities.

Live life with your kids!

Self Discipline and Self Control

The difference between self control and self discipline is probably in my head but it helps me to stay focused on a particular inner need. I see Self Control as the virtue that helps me to stop doing what I know I shouldn’t whereas I see Self Discipline is the virtue that helps me do what I know I should. And I need both; I must refrain from doing wrong and pursue what is right.

5 Keys:

  • See the big picture – we are not just living for today. My actions today have consequences – do I like those consequences, are those consequences the fruit that I want in my life? I want to live a life that has eternal value – the things I do today will affect my effectiveness for God.
  • Know what is right – By reading God’s Word I can learn what is right. I can learn what will make God well pleased. The tricky thing is though that this knowledge has to travel from my head to my heart and then it will start to affect my choices. (My heart is the seat of true deep seated beliefs) Is my heart set on external things (just so everything looks good) or is my heart set on eternal things (things that build His Kingdom).
  • Be careful little hands – Remember that little Sunday School song – be careful little eyes what you see, be careful little ears what you hear, be careful little tongue what you say, be careful little hands what you do, be careful little feet where you go. This is self control. I need to be careful, watchful, of the things that I allow to happen in my life. Be on guard, be alert, be strong and vigilant.
  • Have boundaries – The inner desire to do right is like a boundary that helps me walk the way I want to. But what happens when that inner desire becomes weak – like a break or a hole in the fence – I need to have external things around me, systems in place, support people in my life, or a developed habit that can then be my boundary until my inner motivation, my inner heart is healthy and on track again.

There are many spheres in our life and there are some spheres or responsibilities that I am well disciplined in, and yet, there are others that are ruled by my flesh. At these times I remember Paul – he too had this problem.

For what I am doing, I do not understand.
For what I will to do, that I do not practice:
but what I hate, that I do….
For the good that I will to do, I do not do:
but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.
Romans 7:15, 19

Which is why self control is a fruit of the Spirit – it is developed in our life as we respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. We can determine in our heart with all our will to have self control and yet – we will fail. We need to rely on the Holy Spirit to do what is right, we cannot rely on ourselves.

Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities,
in reproaches, in needs,
in persecutions, in distresses,
for Christ’s sake.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Cor 12:10

Paul is pleased because these life challenges give an opportunity to show how strong Christ is. When we get through hard things with self control and self discipline Jesus is glorified because it is obvious we cannot do it in our own strength but in His. It is His fruit showing in our life.

So this year, my goal, my focus is one of self control and self discipline. My key verse is:

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 (self control) in all things.
Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown,
but we for an imperishable crown.
1 Cor 9:24-25

And I’ll finish with a quote from The Power for True Success

Self control is transforming desires to please self
into desires to please God.

Website Updates
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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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