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Sermon Illustrations: Discipline

Bertrand Russell said one reason Hitler lost World War 2 was that he did not fully understand the situation. Bearers of bad news were punished. Soon no one dared tell him the truth. Not knowing the truth, he could not act appropriately.


If you have appendicitis, then you go to the doctor and he prescribes a course of medication. If the medication doesn't work, then the next step is for the problem area of the body (the appendix) to be removed so as not to destroy the whole body.


Discipline means paying the price that is necessary to win the race. Lots of people would like to win an Olympic gold medal, but how many are willing to make the sacrifice necessary to get there? Do you think that Ian Thorpe woke up each morning singing, "Hallelujah, I'm just itching to get out there and do 50 laps"? No - he had to sacrifice. And if we're going to win the race, we also have to discipline ourselves, bring our bodies into subjection and tell them what to do instead of letting them tell us what to do.


God's discipline: It's not contradictory to fear a God of love. My children understood a little of what it meant. They understood that the Daddy who kissed and cuddled and tickled them, and bought them chocolate and ice-creams, was the same Daddy who smacked their bottoms when they needed it.


God's discipline: Someone once said that when God disciplines, He speaks through your conscience, but if you won't listen He uses people - and if you still won't listen He uses the circumstances of life - usually unpleasant ones.


Any music student will tell you that practising scales for hours on end is no fun. I'd like to say that I used to go into raptures of artistic ecstasy when I used to practise 3 octaves of D harmonic minor, but I didn't. Or that getting my fingers to twiddle the mixolydian mode just thrilled my soul, but it didn't. It took discipline.


Most of us don't like some foods. When I get a meal like that, I eat the things I least like first. The rest comes easy. There's always enough room for dessert. It's not easy maintaining your motivation when all you've got left to do is the unpleasant stuff.


John Wesley began his day at 4am and retired punctually at 10pm. If he had guests, he would announce, "Come, gentlemen! It is time for all good folks to be at home."


Be aware that the pain of discipline will cost you pennies, whereas the pain of regret can cost you millions.1


1 Cordeiro, Wayne Attitudes That Attract Success p132