God’s Gift of self-discipline

  I was face to face with my mortal enemy.  Victory or defeat hung in the balance.  I Had met this enemy many times before but somehow I knew this would be a decisive battle.

As a matter of fact, my enemy had beaten me more times than not but not today, today victory was mine.

My opponent confronts me every day mocking me in so many ways.  My opponent is lurking in the shadows just waiting for me to make a fatal step. Then my opponent will attack and take me down – hell bent on breaking my spirit.

But, not today.

Today I saw my opponent laying low positioned to attack, smug, daring me to come just one step closer.… 

There in the corner of the linoleum floor of my bathroom, the battle was at hand.   

I made my move I stepped forward and then I stepped on it.

I stepped on it. I stepped on the bathroom scale and the digital readout whirled for what seemed like an eternity, and then just as suddenly stopped. 

I squinted through one eye to see the result of my attack to see the number on the digital screen.  There it was. There was the number, the amazing number, there was the number I was looking for four months The numbered which was seemingly unachievable; the number which showed I had lost 45 pounds and had reached my goal.   

Finally, victory over my powerful opponent, the bathroom scale,  has been achieved. Victory is mine … how sweet was the taste of victory?  All I could do was look and laugh as my vanquished foe.   OH, and I took a picture of the number on the scale too. It remains on my phone today.   

What was the price of victory,  to what do attribute the joy and exhilaration I felt?   The price of victory was achieved because I had accepted God’s gift of self-discipline and applied it to my life and thereby kept a promise to myself to reach my goal weight by my goal date.

Hello, friend, my name is Dr. Brad Miller and this is the Pathway to Promise Podcast.  This is the podcast where we talk about personal life transformation over short periods of time. It is based on the belief that every person has a God-given promised life of peace, prosperity, and purpose which is attained when we follow a pathway or process guided by the proper people. 

As a Christian pastor for 35 years, I have devoted my life to the study of transforming lives for the better.  I have read hundreds of books on the topic and earned a doctoral degree in transformational leadership. But, most importantly I have witnessed and been a part of life transformation for many people and I have experienced life transformation myself.    

I believe that life transformation, from whatever adversity you face, can happen, and in a shorter time than you may think, and thereby you can arrive at your promised life of peace, prosperity, and purpose.

The process of which I speak is illuminated by four gifts that come from God which we can use the move is along the pathway to your promised life.

Let’s talk about God’s gift of self-discipline for you.

There is a verse of Scripture which is foundational to understanding the four gifts that God gives us to move through and around adversity to achieve our promised life.

2 Timothy 1:7  states, “I have not come to give you a spirit of timidity, but I come to give you a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline.”

in the first five episodes of the Pathway to Promise podcast  I am unpacking four gifts from God which make up the Pathway to your Promised life process.     

In episode one, I told the story of my self-transformation in the context of preparing for my daughter’s wedding.   In episode two I introduced you to God’s gift of bold action.   Episode three was all about God’s gift of drawing on a higher (spiritual) power.  God’s gift of motivational love was the focus of episode four.

This is episode five where we dive deep into the foundational gift of living with self-discipline.

Self-Discipline is the track or the roadway that gets us through the wilderness of our adversity such as depression, disease, divorce, debt even death.

Self-discipline is the means to achieve the end result of your promised life of peace, prosperity, and purpose.

The purpose of self-discipline is to keep us from getting off-track, delayed, defeated or even destroyed along the pathway to your promised life.

in short self-discipline is the rumble strips on the roadway to warn you that you’re going into the ditch.  Furthermore, self-discipline can also be the tow truck to get us out of the ditch if we find ourselves there and get back on the road. Self-discipline is the application piece of setting into motion God’s gifts of bold action, drawing on a higher power and being motivated by loving relationships.

If you truly seek to achieve your promise life you must have self-discipline. 

Let me give you a few things you can do right now to apply self-discipline in your life to get you back on track.

First control and tame distractions

You can control and tame distraction by using timers and timing in your actions and activity. Your cell phone and timing apps on your computer work great for this. Simply assign a task to a fixed period of time and attack that task and that task only by setting the timer and getting after it. An example would be committing to work out for 20 minutes then setting a timer for 20 minutes to exercise and focusing on that only.

Another way to control and tame distractions is by using social media wisely.   This involves being conscious in how and when you use social media and emphasizing productivity over entertainment.   

Social media is designed to distract you; so take control and don’t let it control you. Use social media as a tool to assist you on the pathway to promise rather than the time sucking center of life ruled by inane posts which add little value to your goal of finding your promised life.

You can also commit to unplugging on a regular basis as a means of taming and controlling your distractions. This means shutting down any electronic devices that can distract you: computers, phones, TVs, tablets any electronic device which draws your attention and simply allows yourself to be bored and quiet for a significant period of time (at least a day).  You will find you will be refreshed and ready to rock after doing this.

The second way we can apply self-self-discipline in our life is to focus.

Focus on what’s truly important to achieving your promised life and letting other, not so important, matters go.  Find your big Yes in life and then just say no to most everything else

Keep the main thing the main thing

You can practice focus through meditation.  There are a number of ways you can approach meditation, just google it up and you will find many, many strategies. My point here is to pick a meditation practice and do it for 40 consecutive days. Almost all meditation practices involve blocking out a period of time of at least 10 minutes and using intentional deep breathing protocol to clear and refresh your mind.

Reading is another great way to practice focus. Get up a half hour earlier than you normally do and commit to reading a few pages of a helpful book which feeds your mind and your spirit. I would suggest committing to a practice for 40 consecutive days where you read a chapter from the Bible and a chapter from a helpful book.

I have found prayer as the most effective way to practice focus.  Prayer is a devotion on connecting with and relating to your creator.

I would suggest here the acts  A C T S method of praying. The A  is for adoration or praising God. The  C is for confession where you ask for forgiveness of the wrongs that you have done. The T is for Thanksgiving which is being grateful for all the good things in your life. The S is for supplication or humbly asking for direction and discernment from your creator for your goals and aspirations and on the behalf of others.

A third way to implement self-discipline is all about habits. Eliminating bad habits and creating good habits. 

I recommend you follow the work of Charles DUHIGG in the book “The Power of Habit.” Duhigg outlines a process to break the power of bad habits and instill the benefits of good habits.

First, you identify the routine or loop of your bad habit.  For instance, eating junk food late at night.

Then change up your reward patterns. If your bad habit is rewarding yourself with junk food after a hard day of work and try out new rewards such as exercise or reading.

Then “isolate the cue.” This is the term Duhigg uses to describe identifying the key activity or action that determines your bad habit and consciously changing it.  If the cue for your bad habit of eating junk food is watching TV then change the cue to something else such as playing board games, or even (this is radical, conversation) in the place of watching TV.

By using this process you can formulate a plan to break bad habits and create good habits.

Let’s get back to my battle with my nemesis, my opponent, the bathroom scale.

Perhaps you want to how I beat the scale and managed to knock off 45 pounds in about three months.

I had a very focused goal…I wanted to be in shape, and look good for my daughter’s wedding. I was motivated by my love for her and did not want to disappoint her.

I took bold action:

I joined a gym and I recruited a workout/accountability partner.

I acquired a workout and eating program which I committed to sticking with for 40 consecutive days.

I developed had a routine, a new habit, cued by specific workout time (5:45 am) with my partner and a routine eating plan (a new habit) that I stuck with.

These new self-disciplines meant that when I did get off my eating plan or my workout plan I realized I missed it and I felt things were just not right by missing. I had developed new good habits through self-discipline.

Disciplined prayer covered every aspect of the process of instilling self-discipline.   I prayed for God to give me the vision, the discipline, the wherewithal, everything I needed to accomplish my promise – I drew on a higher power

Over a short period of time,  about three months, I began to win more battles that I lost to my opponent. I considered any day a win if the scale stayed the same or went down and a loss as if the number on the scale went up,

I made my life as simple and as distraction free as I could and focused on the mission, The promise, I had to accomplish.

It was these, new habits, these new disciplines which led me to arrive at my daughter’s wedding, feeling good and looking good and raring to go if I do say so myself.

The Pathway to Promise Podcast is all about life transformation and it begins with understanding the four fundamental gifts that God gives us. Taking Bold action.  Drawing on a higher power. Being motivated by loving relationships and staying on track with self-discipline.

Moving forward you’re going to hear lessons, conversations and interviews with people who have been able to overcome major adversities like depression, disease, divorce, debt even death to achieve their promised life.

You’ll hear from authors and thought leaders on overcoming financial disasters, dealing with business losses and crushing debt and defeat getting on a path to success. You will learn from people who have defeated disease and depression to find a fulfilling life.  You will hear about the adversity these folks had to deal with and the steps they went through to pivot in their life to come to a place of success; a place of peace, prosperity and purpose.   

There will be regular contributions on the Pathway to Promise podcast from experts in health and fitness as well as financial planning and wealth building.

Indeed in episode six Christian financial planner and wealth builder Scott Maderer will be our first guest interview on the Pathway to Promise podcast.  He has an incredible story of overcoming self-destructive patterns in his life to achieving his promised life of peace prosperity and purpose.

My name is Dr Brad Miller and I do thank you for listening to this episode and all of the foundational five episodes of the Pathway to Promise podcast.   Use them as a reference to call upon as you listen to the full catalog of podcast episodes on our website drbradmiller.com

On our website, PathwayPromise.com, you can find complete show notes and links to valuable resources related to each episode as well as blog posts and resources that give you the tools to change your life for the better.

Let’s you and I keep in touch.  You can get regular updates on the pathway to promise podcast at drbradmiller.com through our regular newsletter or you can contact me directly through the website.

I have a free gift for you. It’s a guide about how to begin and end your day successfully entitled “How to frame your day for success the four-minute way” Please go to PathwayPromise.com and pick it up, you will find it helpful.

Since you’ve made it this war I trust you have found the Pathway to  Promise podcast helpful.   This being the case, I humbly ask that you do something for me.

Please subscribe to the podcasts, on the channel you listen to your podcasts and give me a five-star rating  (if I deserve it, of course).  Furthermore, would you be so kind as to write a review in the field provided? Then go on and share with your network of folks, online and personally, about the Pathway to Promise Podcast. I’ll be here every week and I know that you know people in your life for whom this podcast would be helpful.

It is has been my privilege and honor to have you listen today on the Pathway to Promise podcast a place where you can believe God has promised you a life of peace, prosperity, and purpose; which you can attain when you follow a proven pathway with the proper guide.

It is my prayer that you will allow me to be your guide along your personal pathway to promise.

Until next time this is Dr. Brad Miller encouraging you to keep your promises because there is power in a promise kept.

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