He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls
— Proverbs 25:28
Without a willingness to discipline oneself, and bring thoughts and actions into conformity with the Word of God, one cannot be a disciple of Jesus. Self-discipline, then, must be practised not only by ministers and missionaries but by everyone who desires to make Heaven his home. This means more than just forsaking sin and sinful pleasures. It includes a willingness to develop oneself spiritually and to make sacrifices for the Lord and His work.
Christian maturity comes as a result of taking a realistic, practical, and God-directed approach to both the opportunities and the problems of life. That is why the admonitions found in the Bible are of proven value. They apply to the everyday experiences we face.
How to gain Christian maturity is the thrust of the lessons to be studied during this quarter.
The basic point to remember in considering the precepts of this unit is that submitting to Christ as our Lord and Savior comes first. With this thought in mind, we begin the unit by focusing on the reality of Jesus’ presence with us and in us.
The second lesson deals with the subject of Christian growth, establishing that God’s Word outlines certain ways and means of spiritual development, and that spiritual growth is necessary.
With these two lessons as the foundation for the quarter, we move into a consideration of specific areas such as decision-making, resisting the devil, avoiding physical and spiritual pollution, self-discipline, and how to deal with personal problems.
Our quarter concludes with a lesson on looking at the outcome, in which we will be encouraged to see the importance of measuring our daily actions by whether these actions will draw us closer to God or move us farther away.
Our goal this quarter is to reach the point where we can say with Paul, “. . . in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).
Just as the physical heart is endangered by excessive fat from overeating, so is the spiritual life endangered by overindulgence in the affairs of this life. Explain how this could happen. See Luke 21:34.
How do the goals of Christians differ from those of non-Christians? What verse in our text indicates that Paul had realized this?
Referring to question 2, how do the means of reaching these goals differ? How are they alike?
Why did Paul say, “forgetting those things which are behind”? What do you think this has to do with self-discipline?
In the first half of verse 15, Paul directs his words to “as many as be perfect.” He writes, “Let us therefore . . .” (referring back to verse 3). Who were these people with whom he included himself? See 1 Corinthians 2:6 and 2 Timothy 2:5.
What assurance does Paul give to the Christian that God will be faithful to each individual and will help him align his life to the will of God?
In your own words, describe the condition of an individual who allows himself to yield to every whim and fancy. Use Ephesians 4:14 as a reference.
Self-discipline is a necessity if one is to succeed in attaining any kind of goal. Give your definition of self-discipline and then cite some examples showing why it is vital for spiritual success.