SELF-DISCIPLINE

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Samson Had It, Then Lost It
Judges (16:1–20)

WE MUST DETERMINE to lead our own lives well, before expecting anyone else to follow.
Samson seemed to begin his leadership journey as a very disciplined man. He could delay some gratification (although he always struggled with a weakness for women) and kept his Nazirite vow. As he grew older, it was as though he left the foundation of self-discipline and lustfully consumed whatever he wanted: food, women, drink, Philistines.

Discipline does not automatically make someone a leader, but no one can long remain a leader without it. More government leaders have failed from poor discipline than poor policies. More pastors have failed due to bad discipline than bad theology. More business leaders have sabotaged their careers from lack of discipline than by lack of cash flow.

Consider the following list of disciplines that followers want in a leader:
1. They want to see character in their leader.
2. They want to observe competence in their leader.
3. They want to witness compassion in their leader.
4. They want to sense commitment in their leader.
5. They want to feel connection to their leader.
6. They want to make a contribution with their leader.
7. They want to see contrition in their leader.
8. They want to join a cause with their leader.
9. They want to observe consistency in their leader.
10. They want to feel confidence in their leader.
11. They want to sense courage from their leader.
12. They want to spot convictions in their leader.

How to Build Convictions in Your Life
How does a leader become disciplined? Scores of books try to answer that question, but let’s underscore here the spiritual dimension of discipline. Spiritual discipline begins when a leader develops personal convictions, those principles we live and die for—the values that guide our life. This is our starting point. Convictions come when…
1. We have studied and learned what God’s Word says on a given issue. 2. We choose to apply and obey the Word of God in everyday life.
3. We have exposed ourselves to a need.
4. We meditate on specific truths over a period of six months to a year.
5. We have decided what is worth living and dying for.
6. We associate with people who possess convictions in the same areas.
7. We settle an issue before we are forced to do so.

Why not make a list now of those principles you most believe in? Then ask yourself: Am I disciplined in those areas? If not, begin to build convictions there first!

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