Christian Character: Self Discipline (20 Aug 2017)

I believed last Sunday’s pastoral column written by our brother, Deng Yong,  was a strong encouragement for many.  He reminded us of the challenges faced by many, in the busyness of our daily routine and how,  one should still give God the due attention and commitment.

Many a time, I personally struggle with the issue of self discipline too. The New Testament Bible frequently uses athletic competition as a metaphor for the Christian character and life. The apostle Paul exhorted the Philippians to be constantly “holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ,  I may have cause to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain”

The writer of Hebrews also likened  the Christian life to a race,  exhorting his readers,  “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us,  let us also lay aside every encumberance,  and the sin which so easily entangles us,  and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” – Heb 12:1.

In the Christian life,  as in athletic competition, victory goes to the self-disciplined. How should one develop self-discipline then? John MacArthur has these to suggest in his book “The pillars of the Christian Character”.


It is always said that learning self discipline in the little things of life prepares the way for big success. Aim small steps. If you have not read the whole Bible, start by completing one of the sixty-six books first!


Whenever we have free time, let’s be productive instead of merely entertaining. Read a good book, call someone for a conversation. Learn to entertain ourselves with things that are of value. Don’t just idle around.


If you start something, do not quit too soon. Take up the challenge and seek to see the finish line. Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise. In so doing, perhaps the learning curve can be better managed.

A self discipline life cultivated in the seemingly mundane things of life described above (amongst many more), will spill over to the spiritual realm.  This is possible when we have a correct thinking about a biblical truth and a commitment to obey that truth.

Meanwhile, let’s begin with ourselves, in leading and cultivating for ourselves small steps of obedience in our daily chores of duties. So that we have a starting foundation for the spiritual disciplines that God desires from all of us.


Elder Andrew Lim