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May 4, 2023

Your Future Self Will Thank You (Part 2)

The older I get, the more I value discipline.

It’s a crucial component of a life lived well. Discipline gives a man mastery over his thoughts, emotions, and actions.

I’m motivated most nights to get up early the following day to work out and spend time with the Lord in prayer, reading, and meditation.  But it’s discipline that gets me out of bed when my alarm goes off at 4:40am.

The Bible is filled with passages on discipline and self-control.  The Holy Spirit gives us the power to be disciplined (2 Timothy 1:7). It’s also a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  Peter and Titus admonish us to be disciplined (Titus 1:8, 1 Peter 4:7).

Discipline is the gritty determination to do what you said you would, even though you don’t want to do it.  And I’ve realized recently that I’m less disciplined than I thought.  Just because I’m disciplined in some areas doesn’t mean I’m disciplined in all areas.  I can be lazy.

As I shared last week, 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.  Being disciplined in 80% of my life doesn’t mean I don’t have to be disciplined in the other 20%.

I want more discipline in my life, and I heard something recently on the Art of Manliness podcast from February 27th that intrigued me.  That episode defines discipline “as the ability to prioritize the needs of your future self over your desires at the moment.”

For example, my desire at the moment might be to eat a huge slice of pepperoni pizza.  However, I don’t because my future self, the one with gluten and dairy intolerances, will thank me for not eating it.

I’m more disciplined when I have my future self in mind. 

It’s easy to think about physical goals; if I want to lose ten pounds, I shouldn’t eat ice cream before I go to bed.  If I want to run a marathon in six months, I should start training today.

But it’s also important to consider what you are doing to grow spiritually that your future self will thank you for.  Spending time daily with the Lord not only benefits you for that day, but the cumulative effect of many days, weeks, and months pays off in a deeper relationship that will bring you peace, joy, and confidence in the Lord.

What do you need to do NOW that your future self with thank you for?  Put pen to paper. Set goals and make a plan.

Your future self WILL thank you.


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