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How many times have you heard someone say, “I wish I had what he/she has”? It’s easy to feel this way, not having taken into account the hard work and self-sacrifice it took for them to get what they have…a successful business, a slim figure, early retirement…
Too often we want to skip the hard work and go directly to the results. People are always looking for the easy way to get what they want – some magic formula. They want to lose weight without having to cut calories or exercise. They want to have nice things without having to save up the money to buy them. Nobody wants to suffer or sacrifice.
But the fact is you and I will never have the things we want to have in life if we aren’t willing to practice the discipline and self-control it takes to have them. To put it bluntly, if you want to have the perks, you have to put in the work!
Proverbs 25:28 compares a person without self-control to a city with broken-down walls – full of rubble and chaos. Building discipline and self-control into your personal habits will not only help you achieve your goals, it will also help you gain real peace of mind because you feel better when you start putting things in order.
Look around your house at the chores you’ve started but never finished – simple household repairs, stacks of unpaid bills, unmade beds and dishes in the sink that never get washed. Getting organized in the normal routines of life and finishing little projects you’ve started is an important first step toward realizing larger goals.
If you can’t get a handle on the small things, how will you ever get it together to focus on the big things?
Starting today, decide to be a “finisher.” Start cleaning up the physical and personal messes in your life. Take your inspiration from the great finishers of the Bible. Moses led the Israelites around the desert for 40 years before they finally reached the Promised Land.
Job, though tested beyond normal human endurance, finished strong with a steadfast faith. In Job 19:25 (NIV), he declared, “I know that my Redeemer lives.” Likewise Paul, who suffered tremendous persecution for his faith, was able to write, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” (2 Timothy 4:7 NLT).
We can be finishers too, if we will cooperate with God and put in the work He’s calling us to do. Stop being wishy-washy and start being decisive. Make up your mind to clean up the messes big and small that are dragging you down. Sure it’s hard, but God has equipped you for “hard.” He has already planted the seeds of discipline and self-control inside you. You just have to water those seeds with His Word to make them grow.
You can get victory over out-of-control areas of your life if you deliberately and consistently lean on Him. Say “God, I am nothing without You. I can’t do anything without You.” Cast down wrong thoughts when they come into your mind. Start thinking and speaking God’s Truth to your situation and little by little, He will help you reach your goal.
Whatever your goal is, whether it’s to get in good physical shape or change a negative attitude, start drawing on God’s power to help you achieve it. Philippians 4:6 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (NLT). Thank Him in advance for His help in cleaning up the messes in your life. In the meantime, hold fast to the words of Psalm 18:29 (NLT), “In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall.” Even the walls of a messy house!
This article is taken from Joyce's four-CD series, Discipline and Self-Control.