Godly Leaders must train themselves in the art of Self-Discipline
Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy the truth and do not sell it— wisdom, instruction and insight as well. The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him. May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful! (Proverbs 23:22-25)
Let me begin by giving you a working definition of what Self-Discipline is. Self Discipline may be defined simply as that quality that allows a person to do what needs to be done when he or she doesn’t feel like doing it.
Now for all of us, our training in the art of self-discipline begin the very moment when we come into the knowledge of the truth of this proverb, “listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” Self-Discipline means that you are wise enough to obey this proverb and have acquired enough wisdom, knowledge and understanding to begin the process of training your mind as well as your physical body in the art of self-discipline, Being obedient to the word and able to climb that great mountain of obstacles, and manifest your dreams into reality.
As a Godly leader, and a follower of Jesus, our spiritual lives should form the core of our character. Our training should be a daily process in building up the spiritual mind in order that it will always prevail against the evil spirits of the devil. Our training should be like that of a runner or a boxer. During the course of a race, runners don’t stagger from one lane to another. They rivet their attention on the finish line and run a disciplined race toward it. So also boxers train with purpose so they can absorb powerful blows without falling down. They build up their physical stamina so that their legs will hold out for the final rounds.
A wrestler once asked his coach, “can’t I smoke and drink and have a good time and still wrestle?” The coach replied, “yes you can, but you can’t win! We as Christians and godly leaders can’t win the race either, if we are unwilling to discipline ourselves to studying and obeying the word of God.
Now if you truly want to be a godly leader, you must cultivate your spiritual journey like a world-class athlete. Why? In order for you to finish the race without being disqualified, you must develop the art of self-control. By doing this you can and will affect other areas of your life-how we treat others, where we go for answers to major decisions, and the skills we use in accomplishing our daily tasks.
When we study (2 Timothy 1:7), we soon discover that Paul was prompted to encourage his fellow worker to maintain a holy boldness and assurance in his position of spiritual leadership. Paul had commissioned Timothy to oversee many of the churches in the Roman province of Asia, and this task required “a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” Self-discipline is needed to stretch us beyond our own comfort zones and areas of personal inertia. For some, the needed discipline will be more in the realm of the emotions; for others the focus of self-control will be in the realm of the mind or of the will.
Writing to the Galatians, Paul said that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). While people without Christ can exercise self-control, this quality in its fullest expression of character transformation is a part of the spiritual fruit that only the Holy Spirit can produce in us.
Self-discipline is seldom easy. Paul’s words to Timothy revealed that this young man probably struggled with it in his ministry. And most leaders who come across the need for more self-discipline in their lives struggle at times as well. God’s Spirit is the power source behind self-discipline.
Now if you understand the truth that is revealed by Paul in his message to Timothy, and that the power source behind self-discipline is God, I say to you right here and now, if you want to be an effective leader, identify the habits you need to build into your life so you can lead with diligence, habits such as physical fitness, balance between work and home, financial and personal accountability, proactively in the workplace, and the like. Strap on your shoes and get going. Disciplined habits will give you the momentum you need to not only move forward, but also to run your earthly race with strength and purpose.
The need for self-discipline applies in a leader’s personal life as well as in the workplace. Composure, presence of mind, cool headedness, patience, self-possession, restraints, only a few people display these qualities, and those who do usually make effective godly leaders. People who demonstrate the fruit of self-control are productive, dependable and influential.
History has repeatedly witnessed the combination of great power without moral restraint, and the results have always been disastrous. How reassuring to know that the ultimate power behind all things is also the supreme source of good who demonstrates patience and mercy toward humanity always with their minds focus on God and practicing the art of self-discipline. .
Now begin to make all the necessary changes in your life today to finish this journey, by self-disciplining yourself to be a godly leader and claim victory at every turn you make in the name of Jesus.