Self-discipline is essentially the same as self-control, one of the nine fruits of the Spirit listed by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23. The KJV translation uses the word temperance in place of “self-control” which, like self-discipline, generally refers to our ability to control or restrain ourselves from all kinds of feelings, impulses, and desires, which includes the desire for physical and material comfort. Now, even though self-control is the last of the spiritual fruits mentioned by Paul, and even though it is a term not used extensively in the Bible, self-control is clearly an indispensable attribute of the Christian life, especially as our unredeemed flesh sometimes causes us to succumb to the persistent tug of our sinful desires.
The apostle Paul calls us to “purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). And in his letter to the Romans, he exhorts us to “offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God,” and not to be conformed to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:1-2). Yet most Christians would agree that subordinating the constant pull of these worldly desires in order to please our Lord is not always an easy thing to do. Paul discusses his own inner conflict and struggle with sin in his letter to the Romans, “What I want to do I do not do…the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing…it is sin living in me that does it” (Romans 7:15-20).
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