Nothing of any significance has ever been accomplished without discipline. That’s true in both the physical and spiritual realm. Talented athletes who rely upon their natural athletic prowess and refuse to put in the work to develop their skills rarely find enduring or memorable success. Wealthy sons who take their financial status for granted instead of laboring to multiply their inherited wealth often stand as pathetic examples of privileged yet wasted lives. There have been great minds who have wasted their massive intellectual gifts because they simply would not discipline themselves to work hard. Regarding this last kind of neglect, I am reminded of the following description of William Coleridge, a 18th-century poet who, despite his literary gifts, fell far short of what many expected him to accomplish. Continue reading “The Vital Importance of Personal Discipline”
I recently pulled John MacArthur’s The Book on Leadership off my shelf to lend to a friend. As I thumbed through the pages, rereading underlined sentences and noting my nearly illegible comments in the margins, I was convicted by one passage in particular.
In his chapter, “How to Not Be Disqualified,” MacArthur emphasizes the need for spiritual leaders to remain disciplined in order to keep their personal and public life well-ordered and free from scandal. In the latter half of the chapter, MacArthur provides eight practices he has “found to be personally helpful to develop self-discipline” (154). Out of the eight, the one I found most challenging was his exhortation to “Find Ways to Be Edified than Merely Entertained.” MacArthur comments,
When you have time for rest and relaxation, do things that feed your soul rather than your carnal appetites. Listen to tapes of good preaching. Find music that uplifts and ennobles, rather than fills your mind with vanity and foolishness. Read a good book. Develop a hobby that has real value. Have an edifying conversation with someone you love.
This is a key component of true godliness. Give your private life to God. Devote yourself especially in your leisure time to the task of cultivating humility, holiness, and the fear of God.
A man’s ministry and leadership is developed or lost in the private hours. Sin flourishes in an undisciplined life where entertainment becomes the default. And a man who fails to cultivate holiness in his time-off will never move past spiritual mediocrity. Take heed and turn off the TV.