THE FREEDOM OF DISCIPLINE
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The Freedom of Discipline
“The sailor has freedom of the seas only when he has become a slave to the compass. Until he is obedient to the compass, he must stay within sight of the shore. Once he is obedient, he can go anywhere his sailing vessel will take him. When you take the train off the tracks, it’s free, but it can’t go anywhere. Take the steering wheel out of the automobile and it’s under the direction and control of no one, but it can’t move. Man is very much the same way. Freedom—real freedom—comes only when discipline becomes a way of life.”
It’s seems almost like a paradox; finding freedom through discipline. But for anybody that has accomplished something meaningful in his/her life, it makes perfect sense. Discipline is a key component to a full and satisfying life.
Some people appear to have an advantage. Their compass is their own, natural ability. An athlete may be born with a strong body, a musician may have perfect pitch, or an artist may have an eye for perspective. How many of them find direction and reach their God-given potential without discipline? Let’s look at some naturally gifted people:
- Michael Jordan. This basketball legend, with tremendous natural talent, was typically the first one on the practice floor and the last to leave.
- Ernest Hemmingway. In his early writing he labored hours writing one sentence. He wrote the concluding chapter of A Farewell to Arms seventeen times.
- Thomas Edison. Developed the incandescent light bulb after failing over 1,000 times.
They brought natural ability, but the freedom of discipline led them to greatness. We will never get anywhere without discipline. It gives us direction and frees us to be all God wants us to be.
Read 1 Timothy 4:7
- What does the word “train” imply to you?
Read 2 Timothy 1:7
- Did you know that discipline and self-control is God given? How does knowing that help you “train yourself”?
Discipline is much more than natural ability. It’s much more than will power. We can’t simply “make it happen” on our own strength. It takes God’s enabling to affect that seed of discipline in us. If we want to be free to live the life Jesus came to give us; if we want the freedom to be all we are In Christ and make a Kingdom impact, we need discipline.
Read Galatians 5:22-23
- Did you know that discipline (self-control) was already a part of your life? How does that change your perspective?
Read John 15:5
- What does this Scripture tell us we must do if we want to realize the freedom of discipline?
- What is the outcome of leaning on God and personal discipline?
Just as we have no freedom to play what we want on the piano until we’ve disciplined ourselves to learn the basics, we can only be free to experience the fullness of life when we’ve disciplined ourselves in the skill of Christ-like living.
Philippians 2:13 tells us, “For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey Him, and then helping you to do what He wants.” God helps us by giving us the desire, and then he helps us fulfill our desire. He wants us to desire the discipline that we need so that we that He can fully bless us and we can do what He’s calling us to do.
Read Proverbs 5:22–23
- What caused the downfall of “the wicked”? What could they have added to their life to keep them from being led astray?
- Why is the voice of folly so appealing? How can we overcome it?
- What is “ensnaring” you from the freedom of discipline? Where do you need to exercise discipline so that you’d be free you to pursue God’s plan for you?
 Zig Ziglar, Over the Top, Nashville, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1997, eBook version
 The Living Bible
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