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Discipline of a Christian Leader

May 04, 2009

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Discipline of a Christian Leader
(Bro. William Bolivar, CPA – Lecturer)

Discipline is a personal matter.

When men get saved, then the disciple's work begins, and the great point about discipline is that you can never make a disciple unless you are one yourself.

Discipline means having the vision to see the long term picture and keep things in balance. Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.

We must all suffer from one of two pains:
1. Pain of discipline or
2. Pain of regret.

A Chinese proverb teaches "If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow." Regret can cost hundreds of hours, discipline costs minutes. An ounce of bite-my-tongue can outweigh a ton of “I-am-so-sorry.” One test of our size and maturity is what makes us angry — and how we express our anger.

Discipline is the foundation upon which all success is built.

“…a disciple is one who stays focused on what really matters, and is careful about letting other less important issues or concerns get in the way.”

The Role of Discipline in the Forming of Character: In the forming of character in the life of a leader, discipline is an essential element. In fact, discipline lies at the heart of character.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Cor. 9:24-27)

Strict training, rigorous training, maximum effort = Discipline
“. . . beat my body and make it my slave” = pain of discipline

In one sense, Paul is talking that the “undisciplined” is running aimlessly; fighting the air, shadow boxing.
Our spirit is willing, but our flesh is weak. We are able to put out brief spurts of energy in our spiritual lives, but when it comes to the long haul, we lack the commitment to go the distance. We lack discipline because we dislike pain, and who doesn't? Pain is bad. Pain hurts. Self-sacrifice hurts. Discipline hurts. But an athlete must rise above the pain for the sake of his training.

“Without the essential quality of discipline, all other leadership virtues remain as dwarfs: they cannot grow.”
J. Oswald Sanders wrote:”Before we can conquer the world, we must first conquer the self. A leader is a person who has learned to obey a discipline imposed from without, and has then taken on a more rigorous discipline from within. Those who rebel against authority, and scorn self-discipline – who shirk the rigors and turn from the sacrifices – do not qualify to lead.
Many who drop out of ministry are sufficiently gifted, but have large areas of life floating free from the Holy Spirit’s control. Lazy and disorganized people never rise to true leadership.1

Disciplined people almost always can do the right thing at the right time in the right way for the right reason

George Washington wrote "Nothing is more harmful to the service than the neglect of discipline; for discipline, more than numbers, gives one superiority over another."

President Harry S. Truman once said, "In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves ... self-discipline with all of them came first."

President Truman's quote captures an important thought about discipline. It is through personal discipline -- the actions that we take in life -- that we plant the roots to our commitments, beliefs, dreams and our personal sense of correctness. These values, however, depend upon our personal discipline to stay focused and committed.

In our day-to-day lives, we are often pulled in conflicting directions. This at times can cause us to lose our perspective as to who we are and why we do what we do. Discipline is a way to honor our sense of calling.

Godliness is a disciplined life in Christ. Godliness does not come automatically, accidentally, or suddenly. It is a process that comes from living in it.

Discipline on Daily Decisions
Discipline starts with small trivial matters and lead to important, critical steps.

5 Critical Choices for Disciplined Decisions

The quality of these daily decisions will greatly impact the quality of your life, in worship, at work and walk. And for a leader the margin for error must be minimized, making the right decisions is even more essential.
1. Your character choices.
Each day you get to decide character issues like: will you gossip, take shortcuts, give your job 100 percent of your effort, tell the whole truth, persist in the face of difficulties, seek out and listen to feedback, admit your mistakes, give away credit and the like. Keep your character choices in tact and you’ll protect your talent and be a leader that lasts. Bend your character to fit the situation and these decisions will eventually break you.

2. Where you spend your time.
Each day you will decide whether or not you will engage in the essential or immerse yourself in the trivial; whether you will commit to the important or be chased by the urgent. You will also choose how quickly you return to your priorities when circumstances temporarily pull you away from them. Make the right decisions consistently and you’ll work smarter and accomplish more in less time. On the other hand, poor decisions in this regard resign you to putting in more hours and days to get done what you could have accomplished in the first place had you put first things first.

3. With whom you spend your time.
Each day you will decide how to allocate your time amongst those who call you their leader. If you try to please everyone rather than give your best to the best, you will be more of a diplomat than a leader. While you cannot ignore the weak people on your team, you have to question why you allow them to remain so that they continue to drain your time and passion. After all, it is easier to build a skyscraper where you already have a firm foundation in place than it is trying to work around the pitfalls that mud holes present. Give your best to the best and you’ll gain momentum and accelerate growth.

4. Your attitude.
Each day you will decide how to respond to what happens around you. You’ll choose to reply with dignity or with rashness; in a manner that will elevate your standing amongst your team or diminish it; in a way that will create momentum or break it. When a leader makes poor attitude choices, three things are likely to disappear: momentum, morale and respect for you as the leader. Make the right attitude choices and everyone around you feels better about you and their job. Choose the wrong responses and you’ll spend a lot of time living down and apologizing for the immaturity of the moment.

5. Your level of discipline.
Discipline is essential because you cannot be consistent in the other four areas without it. The key to discipline is consistency. But it’s the ability to consistently make and execute the diligent daily disciplines essential to continual growth that separates world-class leaders with wannabes.

The good news is that because discipline is a choice, it can be developed,