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April 27, 2023

Your Future Self Will Thank You (Part 1)

Man Camp, hosted by Into the Deep Ministries last weekend, exceeded my expectations.  And that’s saying something.  I generally have high expectations for the ministries I participate in, especially if I encourage others to join me.

Not surprisingly, the camp speakers emphasized becoming better men.  We were challenged to be better husbands, fathers, sons, and friends.  As sons of God, we have a calling, in partnership with the Holy Spirit, to love and serve in the name of Jesus for as long as we have breath in our lungs.

We were given plenty of time to discuss what we were learning with other men from River West.  Men shared with great transparency their desire to grow as men, realizing that it would require them to make changes in their lives.

Talking about making changes and actually making and sticking to those changes are two different things.  Discipline is the key to making those changes that lead to positive life transformation and impact.

Discipline gives a man mastery over his thoughts, emotions, and actions.

Discipline outweighs motivation.  Motivation wains over time.  Discipline is the gritty determination to do what you said you would, even though you don’t want to do it.

What kind of changes do you want to make?  Do you have the discipline to do it?

As a lifelong athlete, I’ve always loved Paul’s take on discipline in 1 Corinthians 9:25-27:

Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

I’ve always considered myself a disciplined person.  I get up early most mornings, rain or shine, and swim hard and hit the gym.  I’m careful with what I eat and drink and conscious of how much sleep I get.  All of this takes discipline.

Paul points out, “Every athlete exercises self-control (discipline) in ALL THINGS.”  I might be disciplined physically, but what about spiritually and intellectually?  Am I disciplined in ALL THINGS? Unfortunately, the answer is “No.”

I can be lazy.  This was a big reveal to me at Man Camp–that I have gotten in the habit of justifying my laziness as if, somehow, I’ve earned that right.

Laziness is not the same as intentional rest or healthy downtime.  Our Heavenly Father knows we need rest and recreation.  These are good things.

My laziness comes when I go from being disciplined in my thoughts and actions to letting my guard down.  A day of Christ-honoring intentionality does not mean I have somehow earned an evening of mindless social media scrolling and Instagram Reels.

A hard day of being “on” for others doesn’t mean I can come home and give my family my leftovers.

Being disciplined in 80% of my life doesn’t mean I don’t have to be disciplined in the other 20%. On the contrary, the undisciplined 20% undermines my healthy habits and patterns.

I’m not entitled to lustful thoughts or other sinful behaviors throughout the day just because my morning began with a disciplined devotional with the Lord.

Where do you need more discipline?

How can you become more disciplined in these areas?

Are you guilty of justifying laziness in some area of your life because you are disciplined elsewhere?

Your future self will thank you for the discipline you impose on yourself today.

We’ll keep exploring this topic next week.


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