Many of the celebrated believers or leaders in the world today didn’t get there by just being elites or their God-given talents. They have given themselves to an extremely focused and disciplined lifestyle. Most of them subject themselves to the things the vast majority of us continually avoid
The question is Why? They exercise tremendous self-discipline and endures a great deal of unpleasantness for the sake of what brings them joy in the end.
Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God”
The power for self-discipline does not come from admiring self-discipline. It does not come from wishing we were more self-disciplined. It does not come from making new resolves, plans, and schedules for self-discipline (though these helps when the fundamental motivation is right). It certainly does not come from loathing our lack of self-discipline and resolving (again) to do better, the power for self-discipline comes from the prize — whatever we want, the reward we believe will yield us the greatest pleasure
How many times have you made some resolve, let it fall by the wayside, and wondered why you’re not more disciplined? I’ve done it more times than I remember. We often chalk up our discipline failures to a lack of will power, but will power is not our problem. Our will always obey our wants — our real wants, not some fantasy wants.
So, when we can’t sustain some new self-discipline regimen, it’s very likely that our resolve was based on a fantasy reward. What typically happens is we imagine what experiencing the benefits of attaining some goal might feel like. What we imagine appears desirable to us. We feel a burst of inspiration, so we make a resolve. We think our inspiration stems from a new conviction that the reward we imagine will make us happy.
But once we experience the unpleasantness of self-denial, the inspiration evaporates and the goal no longer seems worth it, so we give it up. We liked the imagination of the reward, but the reward itself wasn’t real enough to fuel our discipline. It was a fantasy. And when the fantasy was dispelled, we realized we wanted another reward more and our will followed.
It wasn’t a lack of will power; it was a lack of reward power.
So like Paul said in (1Cor 9:26), We need to keep our eyes on the prize. That is the key to self-discipline, our real belief that the pleasures of a reward will be worth the denial of lesser pleasures And that’s what nourishes the spiritual fruit of self-control in our lives, wanting the reward the Spirit offers us more than the reward sin or the world offer us. When athletes lose motivation, their coaches and trainers exhort them to get their eyes on the prize. That’s Paul’s exhortation to us when he says, “So run that you may obtain it”. Sustained self-discipline for the glory of God is always fueled by an intense desire for more joy in God
Extracted from self-discipline article by Jon Bloom