By Bill Buckley
"Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything." –1 Corinthians 9:25a
Ask a coach to list the qualities of a complete player and discipline is always in the list. A disciplined player has a work ethic that sets him or her apart. He or she makes a strong player, but not always a strong person. It’s amazing how many NFL players leave the league bankrupt, divorced, or addicted to alcohol or other drugs. While many NFL players show extreme discipline athletically, some show little discipline in their moral decisions and relationships. The quality they lack is self-control.
Discipline is the will to work hard and consistently in perfecting fundamentals and executing plays. Discipline is about motivation and a strict regimen. Motivation is essential but usually only temporary. Motivation can come and go and is often unreliable. Self-control is the ability to consistently make good decisions in every area of life. It is about inspiration working through relationship. True inspiration can be blocked but never goes away. The thing that changed Fred Brown’s life forever was his personal relationship with John Thompson. At the worst moment of his career, his coach was speaking destiny into his heart. Fred got inspired. He got his heart engaged and became a young man whose actions on and off the court got stronger.
God’s Word teaches us that self-control cannot grow apart from a right relationship with Jesus Christ. Discipline is dedication to a regimen. Self-control is dedication to a person. Like Fred Brown, self-control grows out of our mistakes and weaknesses as we learn that Christ loves us in spite of them. Discipline alone will not keep us from sinning; but when we realize the love and commitment Christ has for us, we will want to please Him. Self-control grows out of an environment of love and trust between the Lord and us.
1. How is your self-control displayed to your teammates, coaches, and family?
2. How would you evaluate the environment of love and trust between you and Jesus?
Proverbs 25:28; Galatians 5:22-23; Titus 1:7-9
Lord, thank You for Your great sacrifice—Your life for mine. May Your love inspire me to always make choices that will please You. Amen.