No Pain, No Gain
"But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified."1
I live at the top of a mile-long very steep hill and for exercise I like to ride my mountain bike down and up our hill at least three times a week. It's great fun riding down but riding up is another story … and it never seems to get easier. "Do you enjoy riding?" someone asks. My answer? "I love having ridden."
True, I don't enjoy riding up our hill. It's hard work, but I love having ridden because of the benefits gained. There is an immediate benefit in that it's a great stress reliever, offsetting some of the adverse affects of stress. It also produces endorphins in the brain that helps me feel much better emotionally than when I don't exercise regularly. Plus it helps keep my body in shape; is great for the circulatory system, and helps to keep fit physically. Furthermore, as Paul suggests, discipline of the body helps to maintain discipline in other areas of life.
Self-discipline in every area of life is a never-ending challenge but the dividends of living a disciplined life are well worth every effort put forth. Discipline never happens by chance. It is a choice—a fresh choice every day!
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to realize the importance, not only of physical discipline, but discipline in every area of life. And give me the courage to face and confront every barrier in my life that fights against self-discipline. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. 1 Corinthians 9:27 (NKJV).