Joyce Meyer - Victory Demands Self-Control
I'm teaching on discipline and self-control. Ya know, I thought this morning, a good way to talk about discipline is you have to discipline yourself to get out of bed in the morning. And, you have to discipline yourself to go to bed at night. And all throughout the day it's one thing after another, after another, disciplining your thoughts, disciplining your mouth, disciplining your attitude, your actions, getting your work done, and on, and on, and on. And so, to say, "I'm not a disciplined person," is actually not true. You have the fruit of self-control. You may not be using it, but you have it. So stop saying, "I just can't control myself in that area," because what's in your power to do, is in your power not to do. If you can say yes to something, you can say no to it, the choice is yours. The more you discipline yourself, God has given us self-control, he doesn't control us, he hasn't given us the right to control other people, he wants us to control ourselves.
Now, in 2 Timothy 1:7, a very well-known verse, it says, "For God gave us not a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control". Different translations say different things but the ESV Bible, which is now supposed to be the most accurate translation, calls it self-control. Actually, the amplified Bible, which I've used extensively for a number of years, says it this way, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but he has given us a spirit of power and of love and of a calm and a well-balanced mind and a spirit of discipline and self-control". So, everybody say right now, I have discipline. And I have self-control. And I use them both.
Now, you know, a lot of people are very, very talented. It's amazing to me the talent that some people have. But, it's also kind of a known fact, not with everybody of course, but some people that are very talented are also very undisciplined. And, I know one person for example, she is talented in so many different things that she can't seem to settle on any one thing and really do anything with it. Because, she'll get half way into that, then she gets another idea, and they're all good ideas, but sooner or later you got to harness your power and focus it into one thing. Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There's plenty of movement, but you never know if it's gonna be forward, backward, or sideways. Amen?
Harry Truman said this, "In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves. Self-discipline with all of them came first". And, I don't believe that any person can do anything great just because they have natural talent, not just because they want to, until you first can manage yourself, you're not going to be able to manage anything or anyone else very well. Don't try to manage your children, if you're not going to show a good example of self-control in front of them. Amen? You should be more excited about that, than that but, you know... Telling our kids to do something while doing the opposite of what we told them, actually does more harm than if we would have just kept quiet to begin with. Don't correct your child for lying, if when the phone rings you're going to tell them, "Whoever that is, just tell 'em I'm not here". Amen?
Like I say all the time, you're all preachers, but you say a lot more with your actions than you do with your words. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. Now, you know, I think in our society we need to toughen up a little bit. I'm gonna say it again. I think we need to toughen up a little bit. So often, we try to get out of hard things by just saying, "Well, it's just too hard". That is just an excuse and it is a lie that satan puts in everybody's head. "I can't, it's too hard". "I can't exercise. It's too hard". "I can't lose weight, I get too hungry". "I try to resist overspending, but I'm just weak in that area". One woman's husband had told her, "I want you to stop buying things on the credit card. We've got to get out of debt. And I want to get these credit cards paid off. And I want you to promise me that you will not go out to the mall and keep buying stuff".
Well, she had to go out there to pick something up and she knew she wasn't supposed to shop. But, she saw a dress that, of course was on sale and, "Last day," on sale. And thought it was the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen. So, first mistake was she tried it on. See, we got to get smarter. She tried it on and, of course, it looked amazing on her, just amazing. And so, she bought it. Hid it. Didn't tell her husband she'd bought it. And then, he saw the bill when it came in and wanted to know what was going on. And she said, "Oh, honey". She said, "I tried so hard to resist buying that dress and I just couldn't". And, he said, "Well, you should have said, 'get thee behind me satan'"! And she said, "I did and he told me it looked better from behind than in the front"!
Now, you all know how we are. If we want it bad enough, we can make up all kinds of excuses about why we should have it. And if we don't want to do something bad enough, then we won't do it. We'll find some way to wiggle our way out of it. But we need to stop saying, "It's too hard," because God will never lead us to do anything that we cannot do. Amen? Can you at least give me that? God will not lead us to do anything that we cannot do. So, here's kind of a silly example, but it makes the point. It's called, "The ice cream story". How many if you like ice cream? Let's see if you like ice cream. Okay. Well, I happen to like it too.
So, somebody might say, "We'll that's my weakness, I just cannot say no to ice cream". "Yes, you can". "No, I can't, I love it too much". Well, I'm going to prove to you that you can say no to ice cream. Just imagine yourself right now inside the largest ice cream parlor in the world. They have every conceivable flavor imaginable. It's the creamiest ice cream anywhere on the planet. Large portions. The clerk behind the counter asks, "What would you like? Name it and I'll make it for you". You tell 'em and he makes the largest, creamiest, ice cream delight that you've ever seen in your whole life. He hands it to you along with a large spoon. Now, here's my question. Can you, right now, put that ice cream down? "No, no I cannot". Okay, well, let's add a little something else to the story. As you're about to heap a spoonful into your mouth, you hear a click. You feel a cold metal object touch the back of your head. Out of the corner of your left eye, you catch a glimpse of a large hairy hand holding a gun to your temple. A deep voice says, "If you eat that ice cream, I will blow your head off".
Now, let me ask you the question again. Can you put down that ice cream? So, here's the thing, here's the point. You can say no to anything if you know what the consequences are going to be if you don't. I want to say it again. You can say no to anything if you know that the consequences are going to be bad enough. And I'll tell you what I believe. I believe that we're all bearing the burden of consequences in our life that we're blaming on this thing, and that thing, and some other thing. But I can tell you, and I hope I don't hurt anybody's feelings, but a lot of our problems are more our own fault than we like to think that they are.
I'm telling you blame is one of the devil's favorite things to do. Because, as long as I'm blaming somebody else, I'm not taking responsibility. And until I take responsibility, nothing can be done about it. Because, whoever I'm blaming is not going to come and fix it. And I can pray all I want to, and God helps me, but he doesn't do everything for us. The Holy Spirit, the Greek word for the Holy Spirit, is the word Parakletos. And that word means, "The helper". And so, God gave us the Holy Spirit, when Jesus ascended on high, he sent the Holy Spirit to represent him to act on his behalf. He came to live on the inside of us. Not to do everything for us, but to help us do what God asks us to do.
Joyce: Well, God has given each of us a spirit of discipline and self-control. But having something and using it are two different things. And so, if you really want to have victory in your life, you're going to need to use self-control and discipline on a regular basis. Today, we have questions from people that have been struggling with self-control in areas of their life. And Ginger and I are going to talk about those questions. So, thank you for joining me today Ginger, and making my job easier.
Ginger: Well, I'll tell ya, people are asking great questions. And I love what you said about having it is not the same as using it. I think we can all relate to that. So, let's jump right in with one that I think a lot of people will relate to. It says, "I get angry easily and I want to control it. What do you suggest to help me with my anger issues"?
Joyce: One of the things that I find, and it actually, really does work if people will do it, is study the Bible in the area where you need help. It's like, and I use this example a lot, you know, if you have a headache you don't stick a band-aid on your head, you take an aspirin. If you cut your arm, you don't put an aspirin in it, you put a band-aid on it. Well, I mean, if you're having a problem with anger, studying success isn't what you need. There are so many wonderful scriptures in the Bible about anger and the dangers of anger. And you know, we can use discipline and self-control and we will need to do that, but we can't do anything apart from God. And so the thing is, to always ask God for his help. And then, I believe that after that, studying the word, it's like taking medicine for our spiritual ailments. And I mean, even like, for me, you know, if I would get really upset at somebody and I'd be having a hard time forgiving them, the first thing I would do would be open up my Bible and look at all the scriptures that I know about forgiveness. Because, the thing that people have to understand is, the word of God has power inherent in it.
Joyce: You might say, it's like taking medicine, but it's medicine for your soul. And so, you can't change by just trying. You admit your sin. You repent. You tell God you want to change, you know you can't do without him. And then, you study in that area. And you be diligent like, you know, you'll take a whole prescription of somethin' if you've got a sickness. And then if you're still not well, you'll go back and get it refilled.
Joyce: Well, there's unlimited free refills from doctor Jesus on anything that ails you.
Ginger: That's a good insurance policy.
Joyce: So it's just good advice for anybody having a problem in any area, I think that's the answer.
Ginger: Yeah, so are there any scriptures in particular that you would rely on, when it comes to anger?
Joyce: Well, one of the things I like to remember is that anger is only one letter away from danger.
Ginger: Mmm, yeah.
Joyce: And, you know, there's so many, I mean, the Bible says that if a man can control his anger, he's like a strong city, but if he can't control his anger, he's like a city broken down that's going to end up in disaster. And you know, I can't think of the reference to a lot of 'em right now. But there's just, all you have to do is look at a concordance, or today, if you've got a computer just simply put in show me scriptures on anger. You can even request a certain translation and that all will pop right up for you.
Joyce: So, it's not difficult at all to do that. And I know that I've learned over the years, that anger and unforgiveness, it really doesn't hurt your enemy. They don't care that you're angry. It hurts you. And so, you're doing yourself a favor when you let it go.
Ginger: Yeah, all right. Here's our next question, "My biggest challenge right now is controlling my talking. I do it more than necessary and end up saying things that I shouldn't say. How can I get control of this"?
Joyce: Well, I'll pray for you, if you'll pray for me.
Ginger: I'll get in on that one too.
Joyce: I mean, the Bible says, "No man can tame the tongue". It's a relentless evil, such a weakness. And so, I daily have a couple of things that I pray. They're both scriptures, "God put a watch over my mouth lest I sin against you with my tongue, and let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight".
Ginger: Those are good to remember.
Joyce: And I think the key is, first of all, understanding the power of words. And I'm still working with the Holy Spirit on this just like a lot of people are, thinking before you speak. You know, if we would just take a moment.
Ginger: It sounds so easy and it's so hard to do.
Joyce: I know, but it's like, we say so many things that are so silly. But once it's said, you know...
Ginger: There's no going back.
Joyce: There's no going back. And, the good news is, is anything that you, I would probably say that's been one of my greatest weaknesses because i, as we all know, speak my mind. But, I've grown so much over the years. And I'm continuing to grow. And one of the things that I've learned that really helps me is, it doesn't do any good to beat yourself up over your weaknesses, but even if your successes or your spiritual growth is just even a tiny little bit, you should celebrate that. Because what you focus on is what you're going to get more of. So, if you focus on all the wrong things that you do, it's really just going to make you do more wrong things. But if you focus on the growth and you thank God for the growth and just prayin' on a regular basis in this area. And here again, a good exercise is just go through proverbs, highlight or underline every scripture about the mouth.
Ginger: And there are so many good ones.
Joyce: Just in proverbs.
Joyce: And then you can actually just zip right through there, and just get like, a quick refresher course.
Ginger: Yeah, that's great.
Joyce: The word is our medicine.
Ginger: One of the things I pray for every day is the full armor of God. And the helmet that God gives me does have a mouth plate, and so I pray for that help also. There are so many good questions about self-control that obviously we're not going to get to all of them. But, I think this is one that is applicable to many different situations in our life. So, this says, "I smoke, and I really want to quit. How can I get self-control in this area and conquer my addiction"?
Joyce: Okay, well, the first thing that comes to mind is, you have to be willing to suffer for a little while. And we'd rather do anything than suffer.
Ginger: Yeah, your right.
Joyce: Now, my husband and I both smoked for a long time. And Dave prayed about it. God gave him grace and he quit. Well, it wasn't that way with me.
Ginger: That had to be kind of frustrating. You're happy for him but...
Joyce: I had a really difficult time with it. But, I have learned that to get free from something, you are going to have to let your flesh be uncomfortable for a certain period of time. And if I remember back, you know, the first week was the hardest. But then it starts to get a little bit easier and a little bit easier. And the Bible actually, says in 1st Peter that if you're willing to suffer in the flesh, you'll be completely finished with intentional sin. That doesn't mean it will never mess up and make mistakes. But, I mean, you have to smoke with intention, it's not just, "Oops, I smoked a cigarette," you know.
Joyce: You have to plan it.
Ginger: It takes a little effort.
Joyce: And so, I highly recommend just saying, you know, this is going to be uncomfortable for a few days. Don't replace it with eating, you're going to be sorry if you do that. And you know, just one day at a time. "I can do this for 1 hour". "I can do this for one day". And then, even like, a month or two afterwards, because it's such a habit, after I had quit I would notice if I got angry the first thing I'd want would be a cigarette, or you know... So, you have to just, don't keep anything around where you can get to it. And really, the nicotine is not so hard to resist, it's the habit. It's really doing something with your hands.
Ginger: Knowing those triggers.
Joyce: Knowing those triggers, and so... All I know is, you can do it. My dad smoked three packs of cigarettes a day his whole life and he was not a believer. So, he started coughing all the time, all the time. And he quit, just cold turkey quit. And I asked him, I said, "I'm really surprised you were able to quit". And he said, "Well, it was either that or die". And so, I think sometimes if you just think about what you're doing to yourself, it helps too.
Ginger: And those principles apply to all self-discipline areas.
Joyce: And I understand it.
Ginger: It's hard stuff.
Joyce: Maybe one of the reasons why God didn't deliver me instantly was because he wanted me to understand. Not to just give flippant answers to people that are struggling. So, you know, for anybody struggling in any area, whether it's appetite or whatever it is, if we don't struggle with something we just think, "Well, just don't do it". But that's a little more difficult if you're the one with the problem. But I do know this. God will help you and you can do it but you probably won't do it without some discomfort.
Ginger: Well, thank you, Joyce. We need the encouragement.
Joyce: Thank you.
The consequences of certain things brings death. And when I'm talking about death in this way, I'm not talking about no longer breathing and being in a grave. Actually, in the amplified Bible, it says the type of death that's being talked about. And especially, in romans six, where we're going to read a couple of verses, it says, "It's the consequences," of sin for example, "Brings death". But it says, "Death that comprises all the miseries that one can imagine both here and here after". So, many miserable Christians are walkin' the earth? You know, it's one thing to be a miserable sinner. But it's another thing entirely to be a miserable believer. We're supposed to be the happy group. Amen? We're supposed to be the one's spreading joy. Our lives are supposed to be salty. We're supposed to make other people thirsty to have a life like ours.
That's why I say, we don't even really have to worry about preaching so much if we just get out there and live the life that Jesus died for us to have. You're gonna be like a magnet and people are going to be drawn to you and want to know what you have and how they can get it. But as long as we continue to be no different than everybody else, except we go to church on Sunday have a bumper sticker on our car... Come on, you know what I'm talkin' about. I don't want to be miserable. I spent enough years of my life being miserable. And I don't intend to be miserable anymore. And you know what I've discovered? If I want to be happy then I have to decide to be happy, because the devil's not going to help me be happy. He's going to do everything he can to make me unhappy. But nobody, listen to me, nobody can make you unhappy if you won't let them do it.
You know, I've told you that I had all kinds of problems. I mean, like, from being abused for 15 years by my dad. And I mean, this wasn't just an occasional thing, this was all the time, all the time, all the time, all the time. And, I'm not going to go through all the nasty details, you can get it in other teachings and books. But, I was in bad shape by the time he got done with me. And I looked okay on the outside. I mean, I didn't look like there's anything wrong with me. But boy, I had a mess in my soul. And you know, when you have a mess in your soul, you know where it starts showing up? In relationships. Amen? For one thing, I didn't like myself because I thought something was wrong with me because of what he had done to me. And if you don't like yourself, you're not going to be able get along with anybody else.
And so, I was miserable and therefore, I set about trying to make Dave miserable. And miserable people don't even realize what they're doing. But the honest truth is, is that when you're miserable you really don't want anybody else to be happy. You want other people to be miserable with you. And you maybe don't even do it on purpose, but you really just try to make them miserable. My father was a miserable human being and he did his best to make everybody else that he was around miserable. And we all let him do it because we didn't know that we had a choice. Well, Dave was born-again, spirit-filled Christian, who'd been praying for a wife. And he told God, "Make it somebody that needs help". Now, you want to be very careful how you pray. Can you imagine somebody praying that? But see, that's what a strong Christian says, you know, "I can take it. Give me somebody that needs help. I want to be used by you, God". You know, I don't even think he knew what he was doing when he prayed that. I'm sure it was just like, a divine, maybe he was in a trance or something when he prayed that prayer...
You know, let me tell you. He got somebody that needed help. But, Dave was strong enough in the Lord that he would not let me make him unhappy. And the happier he stayed, the madder it made me. Does anybody know what I'm talking about? Alright. But, it was one of the best things he ever did for me. Because, now, listen to me, those of you that are married to somebody that spends all their time trying to make you unhappy. Come on. Or maybe, you're the one that spends all your time trying to make somebody else unhappy. I don't know, if you're the one that's here, so... I gotta preach to who I gotta preach to. But, what I began to see was stability. Something I had never seen before. I began to see somebody who wasn't controlled by outward circumstances. Dave loved me unconditionally, but I had to receive the love. He didn't turn it on and off based on my behavior. He just was, who he was.
And one of the things that we need to learn is to be who God wants us to be no matter what everybody else is doing. Did you hear me? Maybe somebody's been mean to you, they haven't treated you right. And so now, your temptation is you're going to build a wall, and you're not going to let them into your life, and you're not going to talk to 'em, and you're going to give 'em the cold shoulder. Well, that's not the way God wants you to respond. Because, now you're letting them control you. And what you need to do is just say, "God, I'm going to be who I am. And I'm going to trust you to take care of them".
So, I'm telling you that you don't have to let other people make you unhappy. And that's something that you can do, but only if you have self-control. Because anybody who lives by their feelings might as well just get a rubber stamp that says, "destroyed," and stamp it across your life. We cannot live by emotions and ever have victory. Victory demands that we operate in self-control. And when I'm talking about self-control I'm not just talking about eating and exercising. I'm talking a lot about controlling your thoughts, controlling your words, and your attitudes, and especially these emotions that want to go down every time a circumstance doesn't suit us. We need to toughen up a little bit and be able to deal with disappointment and stay happy when we don't get our way. Come on, I'll just say that to this side of the room. Stay happy when we don't get our way. Come on.
Can you be happy when you don't get your way? Amen. We spend too much time trying to get God and the whole world to serve us. And Jesus said he came to serve not to be served. I hope you love me when the day is over. "For the wages of sin is death". Sin makes you miserable. Every kind of misery. That's why, really, instead of getting so mad at people that sin and do things that hurt us, we really need to realize that hurting people hurt people. And I'm telling you what, sin brings its own punishment. You don't have to worry about trying to punish somebody who's sinning. It has its own punishment and its misery. Do you really think that a drug addict is happy? No, they're miserable. Do you really think that somebody who does nothing but mistreat other people all the time, is a happy person? No, they're not. They're miserable. Sin, the wages of sin is death. Death that comprises all the miseries that we can ever have in this life and in the one to come.
Romans 8:6 says, "For to set the mind on the flesh is death". Here again, it's not talking about being in a grave. It's talking about the more you think about yourself and the flesh, and what you want and what you don't have, and what you think you should have and what other people have that you don't think they should have, and you don't understand why you don't have it... Come on. I mean, you just spend the whole day thinking like that and just see how happy you are by bedtime. Not going to be too happy. But you can purpose to say, "God, I believe I'm in your hands and you have a plan for my life. And as long as I obey you and do what you want me to, when your time comes to bless me, no devil in hell, no person on earth can keep you from it".
Come on. Real promotion comes from God, not from man. And I have found this and I preach this a lot. I hope you don't get tired of hearing it, but it doesn't matter to me even if you do because we need to hear things over, and over, and over, and over. The flesh is naturally selfish. It wants what it wants. And we do need to take care of ourselves and we need to be good to ourselves. Because, if you don't take care of yourself, you're not going to be able to even help anybody else. But I'm not talkin' about being selfish and self-centered. What we need to do is purposely, everybody say purposely. I stress that because I have to do it on purpose. And I mean, I've been hard after this God thing for over 40 years, almost 45 years now. I mean, studying the word, preaching the word, really doing everything I know to do to try to live according to the word. And every single day of my life, I still have to use self-control. I still have to say no to myself. And I still have to resist being selfish.
I was just sittin' and thinkin' the other day about some ways I'm just still so stinkin' selfish. And, I hate it. I don't want to be that way. Thank God, he changes us from glory to glory. But what I have to do, is purposely. Everybody say purposely. Think about what I can do for somebody else. I just challenge you, like, take for example, just exhorting somebody or edifying them, which basically means to make them feel good. Just to make somebody feel good. Imagine that. You have the ability, every single one of you has the ability, no matter how many problems you have, you have an amazing ability to make somebody else feel better. Think about that. And I would venture to say, that far too many are not using that ability at all. They want everybody else to make them feel better. But they're not really giving their life to making other people feel better. I took on a little new project. I'm pretty goal-oriented, and so I like my little God projects. Things that I feel that God wants me to do. And I make a thing out of it. And so, for a while I had this thing going on and now it's become more of a habit.
See, when you do something over a long period of time it becomes a habit. And so then you don't really have to try to do it anymore. You just do it and don't even hardly realize you're doing it. You know, like, I don't have to try to go brush my teeth. I mean, I brush my teeth three, four, five times a day and don't even realize, you know. I'm not like, "Okay, now, I have to go brush my teeth". It's just what I do. Well, for a long time, I was kind of practicing this thing, be sure you put a smile on at least three faces every day. Do something to make at least three people smile. Well, now, my new thing is at least one time every day, at least one, surely, I can do one, come on. How many of you think you can do one of something? Okay. One time a day, I want to reach out to somebody either by email or phone or in person and I wanna compliment them and say enough to them to let them know they're appreciated and that they have worth and value.
Now, so if anybody wants to join me in my quest you can join me. How many would like to just set a goal that once, at least once a day? Come on, say, I can do it once. At least once a day, you're gonna ask God, put somebody on my heart that I can bless, that I can appreciate. And instead of gettin' on social media and telling every bad thing you know about everybody. Come on. Don't do that kind of stuff. Don't get caught up in that. Don't even read that junk that you see. You don't know that it's true. I'm telling you whole reputations are being ruined by social media and people are just telling lies about people and talking about stuff. I mean, some of the stuff that's online about me, I mean, I never hardly ever look at it. But it's amazing where they stick stuff.
It's like, you'll be in the middle of looking at an ad about dish soap and all of a sudden here comes up the latest secret about Joyce Meyer. Or whoever, you know, Joel Osteen or this one, or that one, or somebody else. And so, I was dumb enough to open that one up and take a look at it. And I just thought, "I did not say that. I did not do that". And I'm tellin' ya, we have to stop believing everything that we read. Because, just because it's in print doesn't make it true. And don't be part of that. I mean, I'm grateful for all the technology Gods given us, but let's use it to build somebody up. Let's use it to edify somebody. Get on there every day and tell something happy. Tell something good. Say something that's gonna put a smile on somebody's face. Tell a clean joke. Thought I better throw in clean just in case somebody doesn't know the difference.
Romans 8:6, "For to set the mind on the flesh," to just think about me, me, me, me, me. "Is death, but to set the mind on the spirit is life and peace". You know, if you think more about what you can do for other people than what somebody ought to be doing for you, you're going to have life and peace and that's going to turn into joy. But the more you think about what you don't have, and what you think you should have, and what somebody else has you don't think they deserve and the whole thing I went through before, the more miserable you're going to become. We control our happiness a lot more than we think that we do. Come on. I'll just tell ya, I think you can be miserable any day you want to be miserable, you can be miserable. And any day you want to be happy, I think you can find something to be happy about.
You say, "Well, I've got a lot of problems". Well, you know what? Most people do these days. And the more you think about 'em the bigger they seem. And the more you talk about 'em the bigger they seem. Whatever you focus on becomes the largest thing in your life. So, the best thing to do is just get up out of your sad chair, where you're feeling sorry for yourself and having your pity party. And just go do something, take a walk, thank God for nature, go walk around a nursing home and thank God that you're not in the condition some of those poor people are. Amen? Pet a dog, do something. Get your mind off yourself and do something else. Alright? A few quotes and comments on discipline. Lack of discipline leads to frustration and self-loathing. You feel good about yourself when you discipline yourself. You know as well as I do, if you start out in the morning and you know, you've got a plan.
You know what you should be doing that day: you're gonna get your house cleaned up, you know you're going to do this, you're going to balance your bank account. Whatever it is, you gotta few goals and projects you want to get done... Well, if you do them, at the end of the day you're going to be able to sit down, and relax, and enjoy yourself and you'll just feel good. But isn't it frustrating, when you go through a whole day and you know you were just super busy all day long and for the life of you, at the end of the day, you cannot figure out one thing that you did. I mean, that is the most frustrating thing. And you know what causes a lot of that? Letting other people control what we do. We have a plan. And we let somebody else derail us. Don't think for one minute that the devil won't use anybody that he can use to get you off of your goals to frustrate you and keep you from being the person God wants you to be.
How many of you ever try to study the Bible for one hour without getting interrupted? You know what? If the phone beeps, we just can't stand it. I mean, if the phone beeps we've got to know who wants us. I don't know when we all got so important. I mean, we get frantic if we leave the house and realize we don't have our phone. "My phone, where's my phone? Gotta have my phone"! I mean, if you lose your phone in the house, it's like the world has to stop 'til you find the phone.
I've been around a few years, so I remember when we used to have a 4-way party line. Anybody that old? Okay. See, now we're dating ourselves. But I mean, that meant that four people used the same line. And so, if you wanted to make a phone call, and you picked it up and somebody was talkin', you had to hang it up and wait again. And if you really wanted 'em to get off the phone you'd pick it up and hang it down, pick it up and hang it up... And then you'd really come into some money if you could have a two-way party line. And boy, then a private line. Whoa! Now, that was really big. And I remember when you were driving if you wanted to make a phone call you had to find a payphone. Come on. And it's amazing how well people did without us. And now? And I mean, I do it too. If the thing beeps, it's like, I can't stand it. I gotta know who's trying to call me and what they might be sayin'.
We need to stop letting all this other stuff control us. You know what? The world is not going to end if you turn your phone off and spend an hour with God. Characteristics of a disciplined person. They always go the extra mile. They always do more than they... See, undisciplined people or lazy people or people that aren't excellent, they just do what they barely have to do to get by. But an excellent person or a disciplined person doesn't do that. Matthew 25:1-10, great parable, I'm sure you know it but it teaches such a great lesson. "Then the kingdom of heaven will be like 10 virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise". See, it's our choice whether to be wise or to be foolish. And a wise person does now, what they'll be happy with later. Even if it means sacrificing now, for a future benefit.
"No discipline for the present seems joyous, nevertheless later on it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who've been trained by it". I say some people live like there's no tomorrow, but tomorrow always comes. So live today in such a way that you'll be happy with tomorrow when it gets here. Instead of then saying, "Oh, I wish I would have," when it's too late to go back and do what you should have done. "When the foolish took their lamps they took," the ESV Bible says, "No oil with them". The amplified Bible says, "No extra oil with them," and I like that better because they took just enough oil to keep their lamps burning if everything went exactly right. Come on, are you one of those people that it takes you 22 minutes to get to work, if everything's just right. And so you do not leave your house until 22 minutes before it's time to get there. And then you go get in your car, you forgot your phone. Gotta have the phone. Go back in and get the phone.
Now, you're down to 19 minutes to make a 22 minute trip. Then, oh my gosh, you forgot your sunglasses. Well, if you're like me, you gotta have sunglasses. 'cause my eyes are light-sensitive, can't drive without the glasses, then I got to go back in. And then, I get to the front door and realize I left my purse in the car and my keys are in my purse. Now, I have to go back to the car. Hello, is anybody home? Are we talking to you where you live? Now, you got 15 minutes to make a 22 minute trip. Then you get behind a slow... Older person. "That old man shouldn't even have a drivers license and even be on the road"! "You are going to make me late for work"! Come on. Then you finally get to work. You're 10 minutes late and you lie about why you're late. But you got a bumper sticker and you went to church on Sunday. Come on, give God a big praise.
You know, Hebrews 12 tells us that, "No discipline for the present seems joyous, but later on it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it". In other words, discipline is something that you're going to see the fruit of after you've applied it. We need to show self-control by staying happy when things don't go as planned and in hundreds and hundreds and even thousands of other ways. You have self-control. Don't ever say, "I don't have any," because you have it, but it could be just a tiny little seed because you have never really worked with God to develop it.