by Dave Hintz
As we get ready to usher in the New Year, many of us begin preparing to make this coming year a victorious one with a fresh set of resolutions, whether it’s joining a gym, trying a new diet, or buying nicotine patches. Yet, when Dick Clark’s Rocking New Year’s Eve comes to a close and that luminous orb drops in Time Square, we soon discover that nothing has changed. You are still the same person, only now with a gym membership card in your back pocket, a can of Slim Fast in your hand, or a new sticker on your shoulder. True change comes only when you actually go to the gym, conscientiously watch what you eat, and resist every temptation to smoke. In other words, true change will not occur without discipline. In 1 Timothy 4:7, Paul exhorts his young trainee in ministry to “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.”
Now discipline sounds easy enough; one simply has to make his body obey his conscience at all times. I know, I know, only Jesus was able to do that; but what about the rest of us mortals? What are we to do? Over the next few months we’ll examine several steps in the process of establishing discipline. The threefold plan for establishing discipline in your life includes the following steps:
1. Repent of your Laziness.
2. Harness the Power for Discipline.
3. Form Righteous Habits.
Of course, the goal of this study is not necessarily to help you to fulfill your New Year’s Resolutions, but to fulfill the ultimate objective Paul laid out for Timothy: to be godly. Godliness does not come by merely listening to sermons, being around other Christians, or even reading the Bible; rather, godliness requires discipline and perseverance. Though often laborious and difficult, a disciplined life will yield the sweet fruit of joy for the believer.