Last week I came across an interesting comment by Theodore Roosevelt in which he was quoted as once saying “with self-discipline most anything is possible.”
Now is that statement true? Well no because:
- I could never be world heavyweight boxing champion no matter how hard I trained. It would be impossible for me to increase my weight to the appropriate level to complete against boxers who weigh in excess of 17 stones. I just don’t have the necessary build.
- I could never win gold medal at 100m in the 2016 Olympics in Rio no matter how hard I trained as I don’t have the basic speed needed.
- I could never play in the church worship band as I have zero natural musical ability and no matter how hard I tried that would not change!
However I don’t think we can just dismiss that comment. There’s something within me that believes that we need to pay attention to it because there is truth within it because self-discipline is important:
- Whatever our natural abilities in any field we will never fully maximize them unless we are willing to put in the leg work. Self-discipline is required for this.
- Preachers need to apply self-discipline in sermon preparation: prayer, Bible study etc. You cannot normally expect to turn up on Sunday morning and preach with power without proper preparation.
- Musicians in church worship band need to practice and learn songs. They cannot just turn up and “wing it.”
- When I was a runner at school I beat people who were better than me i.e. they had more natural talent than me. However because I trained hard and disciplined myself to do this I was able to beat them.
- Self-discipline is a good thing as it means your body is not dictating to you what you should do but you are dictating to it instead.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 ESV).
I wonder how different my life would be if I practiced self-discipline on a regular basis?