Learning how to discipline ourselves is a huge topic, way more than I can cover in this series. So in this last blog I’d like to focus on how to make the process more enjoyable, or at least less painful. I also have a free resource for you.
Here are 3 Keys to help change your perspective from
Thinking it’s so hard
Thinking this really is for my benefit!
1. Keep the ramifications of your actions in front of your mind
Think about all the advantages of changing, and all the consequences of not changing. [See 1st blog in series]
2. Use your brain physiology
Did you know that with every win, a feel-good hormone is released in the brain? That’s why playing video games is so addictive. We get a thrill with every success. Don’t you feel great when you’ve made the right choice? That’s God’s beautiful physiological design coming through! Use it to your advantage.
3. Make it more enjoyable
Think of ways you can make doing the activity more pleasurable, or at least less painful in some way:
- Make a game of it
- Listen to uplifting messages
- Meditate on Scripture
- Think about the satisfaction you’ll have when you know you’ve done the right thing. Being in the center of God’s will is very rewarding! Think about the smile you’ll be putting on Jesus’ face.
But whatever you do—don’t complain! That’s focusing on the negative. Plus, complaining is a sin! (Phil 2:14)
For example, I’ve found that music increases my pleasure while exercising. It’s a time I can worship God. Plus, I simply love music and moving to it.
If you’re trying to stop an activity, find a more pleasurable or beneficial one to replace it (e.g. taking a walk vs watching TV).
The pain of remaining the same has to be greater than the pain of changing.
The pleasure of changing has to be greater than the pleasure of remaining the same.
After you’ve experienced some of the benefits of your new habit, it will become easier. Those positives experiences encourage you to press on—like when you get on the scale and see you’ve lost a few pounds.
For a practical application, let’s take the discipline of regularly reading the Bible. It definitely requires lots of effort in the beginning. There are many obstacles in our way—time, distractions, lack of understanding, laziness…. Not to mention Satan himself. However, let’s look at just a few of the benefits of reading God’s Word consistently:
- It’s obeying His command. And obedience always brings rewards (Deut 28).
- It’s a way to connect with God Himself, and being in God’s presence brings joy, comfort and peace.
- It gives guidance and strength to endure life’s difficulties.
- It makes you more like Christ (if you apply what you read).
- It pleases Him.
I used to struggle just like the rest of you. But now reading the Bible is no longer something I have to even think about doing. It has not only become a habit but an activity that I love! What changed?
I experienced the benefits of fellowshipping with my Maker; sensing His delight in me as I delight in Him. Thinking about God’s grace and kindness toward me is definitely pleasurable!
Now, not all activities will produce such great rewards, but you’d be surprised. If it’s a God-honoring change or activity, you are pleasing God. Whenever you cooperate with God and do life His way, you put a smile on His face. He takes pleasure in your obedience and rejoices in doing you good (See Jer 32:37-41).
As a result, you’ll be more likely to exercise your will-power because both you and the Lord will like it!
Friends, I know discipline can be hard. That’s why I’ve also included a free resource to help you apply these principles so that:
…you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God. (Col 1:10)
Your free resource:
And by the way I would HUGELY appreciate any feedback on this resource!
Scripture taken from New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.