Website owner:  James Miller

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   Often we are offered an easy way and a hard way, an easy path 
   and a hard path.  Often the hard path is the right path and the 
   easy path the wrong path.  Some people habitually take the 
   right path even though it is the hard path.  Many others 
   usually take the easy path.  Self-discipline.  Doing what is 
   right though it means taking the hard way and acting in 
   opposition to my basic, natural desires and inclinations.  
   Doing what I don't want to do; or not doing what I want to do.  
   Denying fleshly appetites and desires.  Not doing a thing that 
   I would really like to do because conscience, prudence or 
   common sense say I shouldn't do it;  or doing something that I 
   dislike doing because of a sense that I ought to do it.  Self-
   discipline lies at the heart of character.  A man of character 
   is exercising self-discipline in almost everything he does all 
   the time.  His whole life is ruled and governed by it.  Self-
   denial is a way of life for him.  As he continually practices 
   self-discipline in things his strength of character and 
   willpower increase through constant use.  For the man of 
   character self-discipline shows itself in a thousand ways in 
   all aspects of his personality.  It permeates his personality 
   and molds his personal habits. 

   Examples of self-discipline:

      - getting up in the morning when I would really like to sleep

      - going to work when I hate my job and would like to stay home

      - refraining from eating too much or from eating certain 
         things because I know they are bad for my health (even 
         though I want them) 

      - refusing to look at pornographic material or to look at or 
         listen to anything that caters to lust knowing that it is 
         spiritually destructive 

      - censoring all that I read or watch on TV, refusing to 
         read, watch or listen to trash;  monitoring carefully the 
         food I eat mentally and spiritually (since you "become 
         what you eat") 

      - emphasis on continual self-improvement.  Studying to 
         improve myself although I don't especially enjoy doing 

      - refraining from drinking alcohol

      - Frugality.  Monitoring your spending and spending only 
         where necessary. 

      - Honesty.  Making yourself stick to the truth in dealings 
         with other people. 

      - Carefulness.  Making yourself take the time required to do 
         things properly (instead of taking the easy road of half 
         doing it) 

      - Courage.  Making yourself do the right thing even though 
         you are afraid and would really like to do the wrong 

      - Neatness.  Taking the time to put everything back into its 
         proper place. 

      - refraining from all low, bad, profane or impure language

      - Dependability.  Being scrupulous about doing what you have 
         promised to do (where the easy way is to promise freely 
         and then act as you please) 

      - Unselfishness.  Putting the other man first, acting in his 
         interest, when the natural thing is to put yourself first 
         and act in your own interest. 

      - Humility.  Putting yourself down when it is natural to 
         raise yourself up. 

      - Courtesy.  Treating the other person well even though you 
         may not feel like it, indeed may not even like him. 

      - Chastity.  Refraining from immorality when temptation 

      - doing a job that you dislike immediately instead of 
         procrastinating and leaving it for later 

   The exercise of self-discipline plays a key role in the 
   practice of Christianity.  It is one thing to know what is 
   right.  It is another thing to do it.  Faithfulness to God 
   requires doing what is right.  Doing what is right usually 
   requires self-discipline.  It is usually not the easy path but 
   the hard path; not the thing we would like to do but the thing 
   we know we should do. 

   The exercise of self-discipline usually starts in childhood as 
   a result of the promptings of conscience, a sense of what is 
   right, and allegiance to God.  As we make it our habit to do 
   what is right, follow our conscience, we exercise self-
   discipline and with time our moral strength and character 
   builds.  We build good habits that help us in our commitment to 
   doing the right thing.  And, with continued practice and use, 
   our powers of self-discipline and self-denial increase and 
   become automatic, habitual, and natural for us. 

  Feb 1989

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