Shelby G. Floyd

The word disciple derives from the word discipline.  A true disciple is a disciplined disciple.  Just wearing the name disciple does not really make us a disciple.  Jesus made many disciples, but according to the book of John, later in his ministry “many of his disciples left and followed him no more.”

It takes self-discipline or self-control to accomplish anything that is worthwhile.  A young person learns self-control when learning to drive an automobile and receive a driver’s license.

In like manner throughout life we all must learn to have self-control or self-discipline in order to be successful in our endeavors. The Wisdom of Solomon is useful at this point:

Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.                                                  (Proverbs 16:32 ESV)

Let us notice two kinds of self-control or discipline.


A child, student, and soldier, all have discipline imposed upon them from others outside of themselves.  By this they soon learned to be self-disciplined or be punished.

As an example, if we do not learn self-discipline, the only way we could take care of some problems is by having outward discipline imposed on us. Notice some specific cases where this is done:

*Eating Problem — we could put a chain around the refrigerator and give the key to somebody else.

*Speeding Problem– we can have a governor put on the motor that would not allow us to go over the speed limit.

These are some examples of outward imposed discipline, but there is another kind of discipline and that is inward self-imposed discipline or self-control.


2 Peter 1: 5-6–For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,

Galatians 5: 22-23–22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

1 Corinthians 9: 24-27–24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.


Max Anders said, “Only the disciplined ever get really good at anything.”

The church is filled with people who would love to be mature disciplined Christians with a tremendous knowledge of God’s Word. But they are not willing to pay the price to achieve it.

A Christian once said to a brother Gus Nichols, “I’d give my life to know the Bible like you do.”  His reply, “that’s what it takes.”


We need to discipline our minds and learn to think.

*2 Timothy 2:15—Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

We also need to discipline our bodies.

*1 Timothy 4:8—for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

We need to discipline our moral character.

*1 Timothy 4:8—for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

We need to discipline our appetite.

We say, “I really shouldn’t eat another brownie.”  But then our body says, “Thank you, don’t mind if I do.”

*Proverbs 25:16–16 If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have your fill of it and vomit it.

We also need to discipline our speech.

No matter how disciplined we are, if we haven’t learned to bridle our tongue we still have a long way to go!

*James 1:26—If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

*James 3:2—For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.


*Legalism—living by rules, but with a corrupt heart.

*Pride—consider the Publican and the Pharisee–Luke 18:11-12

*Asceticism—denying the God-given joys and pleasures of life.

1 Timothy 4:1-5—Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

Copyright © 2020 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby G. Floyd                                                                                                                                                  Heartland Church of Christ                                                                                                                                    1693 West Main Street                                                                                                                          Greenwood, Indiana 46142


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