What does the Bible say about self-discipline?
According to the Bible, there is only one perfect parent: God. To find out what it means to discipline our children, we first need to look at his example.
The letter to the Hebrews exhorts us to “endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children” (Hebrews 12:7). Later we read: “we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10).
Whether it is God’s discipline, self-discipline, child discipline, etc. When we think of discipline we should always think about love because that is where it derives from. People who play sports discipline themselves for the sport that they love. We discipline our children because of our love for them.
Self-discipline is essentially the same as self-control, one of the nine fruits of the Spirit listed by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23. The KJV translation uses the word temperance in place of “self-control” which, like self-discipline, generally refers to our ability to control or restrain ourselves from all kinds of feelings, impulses, and desires, which includes the desire for physical and material comfort. Now, even though self-control is the last of the spiritual fruits mentioned by Paul, and even though it is a term not used extensively in the Bible, self-control is clearly an indispensable attribute of the Christian life, especially as our unredeemed flesh sometimes causes us to succumb to the persistent tug of our sinful desires.
The apostle Paul calls us to “purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). And in his letter to the Romans, he exhorts us to “offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God,” and not to be conformed to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:1-2). Yet most Christians would agree that subordinating the constant pull of these worldly desires in order to please our Lord is not always an easy thing to do. Paul discusses his own inner conflict and struggle with sin in his letter to the Romans, “What I want to do I do not do the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing it is sin living in me that does it” (Romans 7:15-20).
More Bible verses about self-discipline every Christian Should Know:
Hebrews 12:5-11 ESV
And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?
Hebrews 12:1-29 ESV
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.
Ephesians 6:1-9 ESV
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ.
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