The ONE THING for today

The dark side of self-discipline

Simply put, it’s seldom simple.

Take self-discipline, for example.

The danger with self-discipline is you that you forget why you’re denying yourself or driving yourself.

You’ve seen people like this…

Take those people who practice amazing discipline with their diet. The danger is that it’s become about a certain image or lifestyle.

Maybe it’s the vegan lifestyle, or looking good in their jeans, not about taking care of the body God has given them to make a difference in the world.

And then there’s the runner or biker, or muscle bound weight-lifter. Truth be known, they’re just exercising for the adrenaline high or to gain bragging rights over someone.

People of faith are often the worse.

They create long lists of do’s and don’t that have little to do with knowing and honoring God; they just enjoy feeling morally superior to others.


There’s a common thread that runs through each of these examples. It’s the dark side of self-discipline and that dark side is the very real danger of making self-discipline about ourselves. We’re the focus. It’s our image, honor, and acclaim that is on the line.

But honestly, one hundred years for now your waist line or jean size will not matter. Whether you could run a mile or a marathon will be meaningless. Whether you could barely lift a feather or bench press the world will be of no account.

But what will matter is…

Did you make a difference in the world?

Did you go to a better world when you exited this one?

Did you show the way to that world to others?

The ONE THING for today: It is impossible to live a truly successful and meaningful life without self-discipline. But there is a darkside to self-discipline that you must always be aware of…and that darkside is making your disciplined life about you instead of something and Someone greater than you.

It’s called idolatry.

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