In the Bible, praise is given not to the strong man who "takes a city, but to the stronger man who rules with the spirit". (Proverbs 16:32) The stronger man is he who exercises' control over his personal habits, his thoughts, his speech and his actions. We call this self-discipline.
Many benefits come from the marvelous world of self-discipline. It is essential, if we are to renew ourselves, to become aware of the full range of our abilities. Seneca said, "most powerful is he who has himself in his power". It does take self-discipline to be able to understand ourselves, to know who we are, and to live with ourselves. The author of
Self-Renewal said, "It is not only the most difficult thing to know one's self, but the most inconvenient one, too". Is there any wonder that by middle life many persons are accomplished fugitives from themselves?
But to know ourselves - to discover the discipline of self control- will give benefits not only to ourselves but to others as well. A successful family demands self-discipline from all its members, not just some. Without the give and take that self-control allows, many families would be harmed. If we look at things from a historical perspective, the majority of desires and appetites that have degraded society would have shrunk into insignificance if there had been self-disciplines, self-respect and self-control.
Victory over oneself, yes, that is our ultimate challenge. It is also the gate to our greatest opportunities; to be one person, singular in word and deed. All virtues are ultimately dependant on self-discipline. It is the most primary essence of a persons character. Without discipline, there is no order in our lives. As one philosopher commented, 'The government of one's self is the only true freedom of the individual". The most self-reliant, self-governing man or woman is always under their own discipline. That is what gives the individual the power to follow their convictions and face the trials of their lives.
Pastor Hans Lillejord