60 Seconds – Self DisciplineAuthor: Dave Arnold
Harry A. Ironside (1876 – 1951) was one of the most loved and most effective Bible teachers of the early 20th century. According to a close friend, Ironside devoted the first hour of every day to Bible study and prayer. It was his “morning watch,” as he put it, and a necessary part of every day. On one occasion, when Ironside was lecturing at a seminary, a student came to him, and said, “Dr. Ironside, I understand that you get up early every morning to read and study the Bible.” “Oh, I’ve been doing it ever since I became a Christian,” he replied. “Well, how do you manage to do it?” the student asked. “Do you pray about it?” “No,” Ironside said. “I get up.”
In his Epistles, the apostle Paul refers to several athletic activities:
Racing (1 Corinthians 9:24);
Wrestling (Ephesians 6:12);
Boxing (1 Corinthians 9:26, 27).
Every time these activities are referred to, the importance of self-discipline is pointed out. He also says of himself, “I discipline my body, and bring it into subjection” (1 Corinthians 9:27). J. Oswald Sanders, writing about a true disciple of Christ, said, “His life will be characterized by self-discipline. The words discipline and disciple come from the same root. Only the disciplined person knows true discipleship.”
When basketball coach Gen Smithson came to the campus of Wichita State, he changed the team’s image from dull to dynamic. During his first season, there were signs in the Henry Levitt Arena, and all over town, with the letters “MTXE.” What did this mean? The fans soon learned that those letters represented Smithson’s philosophy of coaching: “Mental Toughness – Extra Effort.” The coach said, “I firmly believe in mental toughness and extra effort for the players on my team. We expect much from ourselves and from the players.”
Proverbs 13:4 instructs, “The soul of a sluggard desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.” The undisciplined person has the wish, but not the will. He wishes for something, but he will not discipline himself to obtain it. However, the disciplined person, his desire is united with exertion. Good things come not to those who just sit and wish, but to those who make things happen by their own effort. “All it takes is discipline – daily discipline, not annual discipline” (Charles R. Swindoll).