I trust that you are doing well today.
I am writing you now to encourage you to take the “road less traveled.” You might be asking, what is the road less traveled? Well, in short, it is the tough, lonely road of self-discipline. This road is about delaying gratification and pleasure to accomplish a worthy goal or pursuit. Practicing discipline is much easier said than done. Discipline is a great idea, but implementing it is difficult.
According to Websters Collegiate Dictionary, the word discipline means:
– To bring under control
– Training that corrects, molds or perfects the mental faculties or moral character
– Self control
– To train or develop by instruction and exercise especially in self-control
– Control gained by enforcing obedience or order
Discipline is that quality that says, by the grace of God, come hell or high water, I am determined to get the task done or reach that goal, etc. Discipline says, it doesn’t matter how I feel or what is going on around me or who is doing or saying what. All that matters is that I am willing to sacrifice – to do without things, if necessary, to reach my goal.
Here is a personal example of self-discipline: to write this book, I’ve had to get up at 3:30 a.m., forego eating, get rid of the television set, and not look at football and basketball, etc.
Dear friend, you will have to have that rugged tenacity and discipline if you are going to succeed in your endeavours in this life.
Here are some things that we really need to practice the principle of discipline in:
PRAYER: You will need to learn to pray when you feel like praying and pray even when you don’t.
READING: Especially Bible reading. One man said: “The Bible will keep you away from sin, or sin will keep you away from the Bible.” Reading other books besides the Bible will take discipline as well. But the rewards are great.
IN-DEPTH STUDY: King Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, said, “Much study is a weariness of the flesh” (Ecclesiastes 12:12b). And it is. Someone stated that “Mental work is much more difficult than physical work.” And that is true. For example, I find it much easier to work in a warehouse than to sit down and write an article or a book.
EXERCISE: Even though there are people who say they like to exercise, it still takes discipline to move that body out of bed and on to the running track or gym. Discipline! Discipline! Discipline! Make it your battle cry and you will win every time.
SEX: One of the most difficult areas to exercise discipline in is the area of sexual desires. But as in any thing else, God will help you overcome those temptations if you would only pray and take heed to His Word.
We could go on and on as to the areas we need to practice discipline in. The question now is, how do we practice discipline? Here are some simple ideas that I find helpful:
1. When you have a goal that needs to be reached, abandon all else and focus on that one thing that needs to be done and get it done now!
2. Take the T.V. out of the house.
3. Do the worst first.
4. Work hard and then have big fun. Plan an exciting reward for yourself after the goal is reached.
5. Remember that good feelings follow positive action. Positive action hardly ever follows good feelings.
6. Fast. When you really have to get something done, do what I call, fast and focus. What I mean by this is in order to reach your goal, you may need to go without some things that you enjoy such as food or television for a period of time to focus on accomplishing your goal.
7. Bathe the goal or project in prayer.
Dear Y.B.M., please take the road less traveled — the road of discipline. It’s hard, but good. And as my dad used to say: “It’s tight, but right!”
On the Road Less Traveled,
P.T.: Frederick Douglass said, “The collapse of character begins with compromise.”
Zig Ziglar said, “When you do the things you have to do when you have to do them, the day will come when you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.”
Rudyard Kipling wrote:
“If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on.’
“If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run-
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!”