In the last chapter, we examined the concept of enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is an essential principle for success. But unrestrained enthusiasm can also lead to trouble. Thus, we must balance the scale with our next principle, the principle of discipline, which forms the subject of this chapter.
As I did with enthusiasm, I’ve also taken the time to look up the meaning and origin of the word .discipline. To begin with the dictionary defines discipline as follows: “training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement; controlled behavior resulting from disciplinary training; self-control. Control obtained by enforcing compliance or order, a systematic method to obtain obedience: a military discipline; a state of order based on submission to rules and authority: punishment intended to correct or train, a set of rules or methods, as those regulating the practice of a church or monastic order, a branch of knowledge or teaching; tr.v. Dis·ci·plined, dis·ci·plin·ing, dis·ci·plines, to train by instruction and practice, especially to teach self-control to, to teach to obey rules or accept authority, to punish in order to gain control or enforce obedience, to impose order on: needed to discipline their study habits. Middle English, from old French descepline from Latin disciplina, from discipulus, pupil. See disciple.”
So we see that discipline is related to disciple. Further, going back to the original Hebrew and Greek meaning of the word as found in the old and new testaments of the bible, we see that one of the root words from which the Hebrew word for "discipline" comes includes the idea of teaching and instruction. Correction and chastisement follow in the definition, but it is clear that there is plenty of room for a person to practice self-discipline.
The only example I can think of from my novel is that it must have taken a lot of self-discipline for Barabbas and men to train in order to go against palate. Yet this was would be an example of discipline apart from wisdom. Solomon, credited as being the wisest man who ever lived, began his book of proverbs by stating that discipline goes hand in hand with wisdom. The wise man will learn of god so that he can live a disciplined and prudent life. Pray that god's holy spirit would show you areas in your own life in which you can begin to practice greater self-discipline and therefore enjoy the fruits of a godly life.
The Greek phrase that Paul uses when he describes how he must beat his own body actually depicts a man who beats himself black and blue in that area of his face just beneath his eyes. Sounds a little harsh, eh? But Paul then completes his treatise implying that he knows if he does not discipline himself, no matter how harshly it may seem to others, he himself may be disqualified for the very prize for which he was advising others to strive!
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