Thursday: Habits – Self-Discipline

Self-discipline is one of the most important character traits a steward can have. “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Tim. 1:7, NIV). The Greek word for discipline, sophronismos, appears only here in this verse in the New Testament and involves the ability to do what must be done with a balanced, sound mind that will not deviate from God’s principles.


Image © Kevin Carden

Self-discipline can help us “to distinguish good from evil” (Heb. 5:14, NIV), understand situations at hand, and yet calmly and meekly withstand pressures and distractions regardless of outcome. Daniel pursued what was right despite the lions, as opposed to Samson, who lived a self-indulgent life and showed little restraint or sound judgment. Joseph pursued what was right in Potiphar’s house, in contrast with Solomon, who worshiped other gods (1 Kings 11:4-5).

Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. What does Paul say here about self-discipline? What does he say is ultimately at stake in the whole question of self-discipline?

“The world is given to self-indulgence. Errors and fables abound. Satan’s snares for destroying souls are multiplied. All who would perfect holiness in the fear of God must learn the lessons of temperance and self-control. The appetites and passions must be held in subjection to the higher powers of the mind. This self-discipline is essential to that mental strength and spiritual insight which will enable us to understand and to practice the sacred truths of God’s word.” – Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 101.

Self-discipline improves through habitual practice. God has called you to “be holy in all you do” (1 Pet. 1:15, NIVand to “train yourself to be godly” (1 Tim. 4:7, NIV). Stewards must practice and train to be self-disciplined just as much as the most talented athletes or musicians. We must, through God’s power and our own diligent effort, discipline ourselves in the things that really matter.

How can we learn to surrender to the power of God, who alone can give us the self-discipline we need to live as faithful and godly stewards in a fallen and corrupt world?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons