STMA STMA : Discipline

What makes a man?

What makes a man a man?

What makes a great man a great man?

This website is partially my stream-of-conscious attempt to answer those questions. At the heart of many of the bits of answer I’ve posted is one principle: discipline.

There are a lot of articles about Walter Mischel’s Bing studies on self-control out there, and while not statistically perfect, the studies provide pretty good evidence that self-control is a good indicator of potential. I think that in large part that’s because self-control, applied with perseverance and intentionality, is what’s known as discipline. Discipline, I would submit, is among the most necessary characteristics of a man and, aside from providence, is the single determining factor between greatness and many merely good men. I don’t mean that the formula one part self-control, one part perseverance, and one part intentionality will automatically create a man that will change the world. I mean that a truly disciplined man is the one I’d like to watch, study under, and emulate.

The Bible says a lot about discipline. We are to be disciplined in our study of the Word (II Timothy 2:15), our education (Proverbs 12:1), our pursuit of righteousness (Hebrews 12:11), our work (Proverbs 19:15), and in following Christ (Mark 8:34). I’m sure it took discipline for Joshua to march around and around and around Jericho; it took discipline for Noah to keep working on the ark for years and years and years; it took discipline for Abraham to nearly sacrifice his favored son.

I think that Luke 9:23 is one of the verses which best portrays the discipline of a righteous life. It has three parts: self-control, perseverance, and intentionality.

Dictionary.com says (basically) that discipline is behavior according to a set of rules or training that results in that behavior (among other things). Wikipedia calls it “systematic instruction given to a disciple.” Discipline is at the core of what being a man, being a great man, being a righteous man, is all about.

Where are you going to get all this discipline? Hebrews 12:6 says that God disciplines those whom He loves, and John 14:21 tells us that if we discipline ourselves to follow His commands, then He will love us… so it’s a cycle. Discipline yourself - as Bum Phillips said, “The only discipline that lasts is self-discipline” - and God will multiply and reward your efforts. Be a man: learn and practice overcoming your self; never, never, never, never, never give up; and live with a purpose.