Self-discipline and control is a fundamental teaching of the Bible:
“Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles. A proud and haughty man - “Scoffer” is his name; he acts with arrogant pride” (Proverbs 21:23,24).
Yet the Bible makes no pretence of the difficulty involved in sustaining complete self-discipline, whilst making plain the necessity of exercising self-discipline.
“Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one who is perverse in his lips, and is a fool” (Proverbs 19:1).
“Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls” (Proverbs 25:28).
“For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice” (Romans 7:19).
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22,23).
“For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there” (James 3:16).
In the Bible we also have the perfect role model, one who exercised complete self-discipline, the Lord Jesus. If he had pleased his own will he would not have voluntarily submitted himself to be tortured and crucified to save those who follow him and keep His word. As evidence of this self- discipline consider what took place in the garden of Gethsemane just before He was betrayed.
“And he (Jesus) was withdrawn from them (his disciples) about a stone's throw. And he knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if it is your will, take this cup away from me; nevertheless not my will, but Yours, be done’ . . . And being in agony he prayed more earnestly. Then his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:41-44).
This wasn't the only occasion as the author of the book of Hebrews tells us, He had always done God's will rather than His own inclination.
“You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness more than your companions” (Hebrews 1:9).
“Therefore, when he came into the world, he said: 'Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure.’ Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come – in the volume of the book it is written of me – to do Your will, O God'” (Hebrews 10:5-7).
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(Quotations are from the New King James Version of the Bible)