I’m Not _____ Enough
I’m Not Disciplined Enough
October 7, 2012
When most people think of discipline, they think of having to follow rules and regulations, strict guidelines and stringent restrictions. But the reality is that discipline and self-control are simply means God provides us to help us experience the most out of life.
In this message, Pastor Ed Young reveals what Scripture has to say about discipline And as he unpacks some practical steps towards obtaining it, we see how it may be the one thing that leads us to a life that is full of passion, purpose and promise.
I just got a text backstage and I have a wonderful, wonderful announcement. You’ll see it when you look at the side screens.
Ed: I’m so excited to be standing beside Greg Dowey. I’ve known Greg for like 41 years to be exact, Greg. We’re way too young for that but I’ve known him that long. Greg pastors Friend Church right here in Columbia, South Carolina. In the Columbia metropolitan downtown area there are over a million people, Greg, and it’s amazing the potential of what we believe together that God wants us to do.
Greg: Ed, I believe that God has been getting us ready for 14 years and we are super excited about this partnership. We believe that God is gonna take us together at Fellowship Church to another level.
Ed: I believe it. A whole ‘notha level! So officially, Greg, we are becoming one church. Fellowship Church Columbia. Man, we are so, so stoked about it. And we have an announcement to make in a couple of weeks that’s gonna be ridiculously cool that’s happening right here in this area. Stay tuned. Greg, we love you man, we’re happy to be joining together our families. Man, the sky is the limit! Go Gamecocks! Whoo!
So at this time let’s give a warm round of applause for our brand new campus in Columbia, South Carolina, Fellowship Church Columbia. We also want to say hi to our other locations in South Florida, in Miami, also in Dallas/Fort Worth.
You know, years ago Fellowship Church kicked our church off officially in our own building right here. We started with 30 families 21 years ago in a rented office complex. Ultimately eight years later we moved here, so we’ve not always had this place. The church was literally blowing up and we had a decision to make years ago. Do we either build the American Airlines Center right here, which we could have done, or do we leverage technology and manpower and start locations all over the place. So we began to do that and it’s been absolutely stunning what God has done. So, I will tell you this. Over the next couple of weeks you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Because we’re getting ready to get involved in the biggest expansion we’ve ever been involved in, in the history of Fellowship Church. That’s just one great announcements. We’re gonna even have some more announcements about what’s happening in Columbia, South Carolina that’s really, really cool.
Well, I love to write songs, as you know. When it comes to writing songs I like to write songs that are kinda funny and we have a lot of girls in my family and all the girls drive SUVs. Have you ever noticed there are a lot of girls that drive SUVs. Women drive SUVs and sometimes people think that women aren’t that great of drivers. I mean I wouldn’t say that but some people say that. I wrote a song about women drivers and it’s called “Woman in an SUV.” You wanna hear it? Ladies, now don’t get mad at me. It’s just a joke.
Here’s what’s so funny about women. Some of you young guys need to understand this. Women don’t laugh at other women. They don’t laugh at each other. They laugh WITH each other, not AT each other. Guys, we laugh at each other, ya know? Here’s what I’m talking about. It’s not a long a long song, I need to really work on it.
Woman in an SUV, bom-bom-bom-bom-bom.
She drives so hormonally.
Woman in an SUV. WATCH OUT!
She drives so emotionally.
Woman in an SU, woman in an SU,
Woman in an SUV!”
Now the ladies are not enthusiastically clapping. I understand. But this joke’s gonna be on me so you’re gonna really laugh at me. Friday I was in my SUV and one of our twins, Landra, and Lisa were in her SUV. We met at this furniture store. We were looking around for furniture and things like that. Afterwards we got in our SUVs. So I’m in my SUV. Landra and Lisa are in her SUV. I have a terrible sense of direction, horrible, horrible. So I said,
“I need to follow you guys out of here.” And they go,
“Well we can point you in the direction of home but we are going to the grocery store first.” I said,
“OK.” So, they’re watching me back out and I normally am very careful when I back out. I back out and I smash a telephone pole with my SUV right in front of my lovely wife and one of my daughters. And they’re like, dying laughing! What an idiot! Hahahaha! And then all of a sudden they sung,
“Man in an SUV, bom-bom-bom-bom-bom.
He drives so hard-headedly.”
It’s kinda funny, isn’t it? You think it was funny? I thought it was. Yeah, and the reason I think it’s funny is because it’s funny. I’m hardheaded. I do have some motor skill problems when it comes to driving. But also I think it’s funny when it comes to driving because I’ve been talking about vulnerability. This whole series is about vulnerability. The more vulnerable you are the more valuable you are. It’s about putting your cards on the table. We’re only as sick as our secret. So, many times we’re scared to say what we struggle with because if we said it people might disconnect. People might do the stiff-arm. They might go, “Whoa! I can’t believe you deal with that! I can’t believe you have that on a punishing loop in your mind!” but just the opposite is true. If we tell the truth about our condition people lean in and go, “Whoa. You deal with that? Me, too. Me, too.”
Illus: Years ago we lived in an neighborhood and our house was at the bottom of this hellacious hill. This hill was 2/10 of a mile almost straight up. Whenever I would go running I knew I had to face the hill. I could either kinda walk up the hill or I could jog up the hill. Usually I would say, OK, I’ve gotta run up the hill. So I would start and I would start running up the hill. And you know when you start running up a hill your quads are like, “what are you doing to me?” Your calves are like, “You’re tearing me up. Stooopp!!!” Ya know? But I knew down deep if I could make it to the top of the hill the rest of the run, the rest of the 2.5 miles, was pretty much downhill. If I could make the climb then I could cruise. I would always say it to myself. I could feel the wind, blowing in my face, of success. Wow. I conquered the hill. Every time I’d run I’d climb before I cruise.
A while back I did an informal survey and asked people, OK, if you could amp up one character quality in your life, what would it be? If you could change one thing about your character what would you like more of? And I was really surprised at what people told me. In fact, I will tell you what they told me. They told me what we’re talking about today.
We’ve been talking about I’m not blank enough. I’m not good enough. I’m not smart enough. I’m not attractive enough. I’m not relational enough. Today, I’m not disciplined enough. Whoo.
Are you like me? When you see the word ‘discipline,’ doggie downer? Discipline? Come on! How negative. I mean yeah, I want more of it but I don’t like to talk about it. Discipline. Ed, what is discipline anyway?
Here’s our working definition. Discipline is simply doing what you ought to do so you can then do what you want to do. It’s doing what you ought to do so you can do what you want to do. It’s climbing before you cruise. That’s discipline.
Now some think, “OK, discipline. I will just buy a new alarm clock. I will maybe buy these workout tapes I’ve seen in television during infomercials and I will pull myself up by my own bootstraps and I will have all this stuff inside. I will get up earlier and be more prompt during certain appointments that come my way.”
Well, that’s fine and good, but we’re talking about discipline in a real in-depth manner. We’re talking about the kind of discipline that our great God wants us to have. We’ve been discovering that we’re not good enough. We’re not smart enough. We’re not attractive enough, we’re not relational enough. But our God is God enough. We’re not disciplined enough but our God is God enough. All of the stuff that we desire comes from God. We try to muster it up ourselves but it’s a God thing.
So when it comes to discipline, climbing before cruising, Proverbs 25:28 says, “A person without self control is like a city with broken-down walls.”
If I don’t have self-discipline, if I don’t have self-control, and really self-control is sort of ironic. Self-control will lead you to an out-of-control life. It’s only when I give myself to God that I have true self-control and this is the kind of self-control the Bible is talking about.
Galatians 5:16 gives us the secret to discipline. You wanna know what it is? “So I say, live by the Spirit and you’ll not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”
Discipline. Discipline is what we need the most but so often is what we want the least. We need discipline. Yet Christianity, Western Christianity has the West Nile. It does. We go,
“You know, I don’t wanna climb. I don’t wanna fight the fight. I don’t wanna go through the fire. I just wanna go around the hill. I want to cruise. I want to be happy and peppy and bursting with love. That’s what I want. I want the favor of God. I want all the blessings and the bounty. That’s what I want. I don’t wanna go through what God tells me I’ve gotta go through to get to that. I just wanna get to that!”
Could it be that’s why so many people in North America move from church to church to church? Could it be what’s why so many people are just people who chase the blessings? God is a God of blessings, no doubt about it. God is a God of favor, no doubt about it. But, to experience the cruise you’ve gotta go through the climb. You’ve gotta go through the climb.
What did Jesus say? You want to become great? Be a servant. It’s about being comforted by Christ and uncomfortable for him. Discipline, self-control, is about dealing with uncomfortable situations. But we want the favor without the fight. The favor without the fire.
Think about some areas in your life. I thought about these areas in my life. Physically, I think we need discipline in the physical area. The Bible talks about physical discipline. Not for vanity reasons but for value reasons. We need discipline. Discipline is really the decision before the decision. It’s making the decision before the choice. It’s making the decision you’re gonna eat clean before the dessert cart comes your way. It’s making this predetermined choice that you’re gonna do cardio and pump some iron before you have the option to get out of it.
Our bodies are a temple, a dwelling place, of the Holy Spirit of God. It’s a God thing. Discipline, real discipline, is a God thing. We can tap into the discipline of the Lord. Because the moment someone becomes a believer what happens? Jesus places the person of the Holy Spirit inside of our lives. So the Holy Spirit works from the inside, out to reorder and redecorate our lives. It’s only when we rely on him and not ourselves, it’s only when we die to self daily. It’s only when we sushi-size our lives that we trade our dreams, our desires, our aspirations for Christ’s ambitions, dreams, and aspirations. So it’s a trade-off. As I delight myself in the Lord I have the desires of my heart. But see, it’s not my heart any more, it’s God’s heart. Physically we need discipline.
Financially we need discipline. The Bible says our stuff is not our stuff. The Bible says our stuff is God’s stuff. Financially. The Scripture talks about saving money. The Scripture talks about spending money. First of all the Bible says that we should bring the first 10% to the storehouse, the church. Not a para-church organization, not a Christian school, a church. The bride of Christ. The Bible says that. The first 10% of everything you make and I make goes to where? The house. We are to save 10%. The book of Proverbs says, “Check out the ant.” The ant saves, the ant works. He’s not lazy. And then we spend, enjoy 80%. What is a budget? Discipline. And God has given us this discipline. We climb, we pay now so we can play later. That was pretty good.
Think about relational discipline. No I just said that myself. Sometimes I have to encourage myself. The Bible says to encourage yourself in the Lord. Sometimes I will just amen myself. I might just say, that was good! Yeah!
Anyway, how about relationally? Relational discipline. We need that, don’t we? Discipline. Married couples here with 2.3 kids, discipline to be romantic. Discipline for a date night as we talked about in our Relationology Conference last weekend. Discipline, singles and students, to live a pure life, to climb before the cruise. To wait to climb into bed with your spouse until the person IS your spouse. We need relational discipline. Discipline to associate with the right people. Because if we don’t associate with the right people, we hang out with the wrong people, we’ll go to the wrong places and miss God’s purposes for our lives. Every single time.
T.S. When I think about discipline I think about Daniel. You remember Daniel, back in the Old Testament. Daniel, one of the best and the brightest. Daniel, a bunch of Jewish people were with him. King Nebuchadnezzar came in, took over J-town, Jerusalem. He deported them back to Babylon 800 miles away. They were alone in this very perverted and unconverted city.
And the king basically said, “Hey Daniel! We want you and your boys and girls to eat the way we eat!”
Daniel said, “Uh, I beg your pardon.”
And the Bible says in Daniel 1:8, “Daniel purposes in his heart that he would not defile himself.
Advanced decision making. Doing what he ought to do so he could do what he wanted to do. It was the climb before the cruise. Then in Daniel 1:9, “God granted Daniel favor and compassion.”
Discipline puts us into a position to be blessed and to receive the favor of God. But we can’t have the blessing and the favor of God without saying, “God, I trust you. I know that you’re supposed to run the show. I’m a great servant. My body’s a great servant but a horrendous master.” And you’re the same way. So Daniel was a man of discipline. He basically traded merlot for H2O. I thought that was funny. Traded chicken-fried steak in for carrot juice and bean curds. Hot dogs for hummus? How about that one?
And he said, “King, after a while just see which one of us are the most ripped, the Jewish people who are eating clean or the other people.”
And of course, the Jewish people eating clean were the best. It’s for value reasons, not vanity. You think about our physical lives, you think about our financial lives, you think about our relational lives, all those things take discipline. People say, “Oh Daniel was the man! What a great man of God! He had all these things going on. He was pure, he was holy, he was this, he was that.”
Remember, Daniel went through the lion’s den. The climb before the cruise. His best friends, those Asbestos Boys, the faithful firemen, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, went through the fi-yah! Then they discovered the cruise.
We have to purpose in our heart, advance decision making. Physically, financially, relationally.
Spiritually! We read this book. We meditate on the Word of God. The word ‘meditation’ is simply the picture of a cow <mooing sound effect> chewing cud. You know a cow spits up and keeps chewing grass at least seven times to squeeze out every nutrient from the blades of grass. That’s what we do when it comes to the Word of God. We have discipline as we read and study the Word of God. We make that advance decision, we make the decision before the choice, to spend time talking to God in prayer.
Go back to Daniel, the Dan-Man. The Bible says, three times as was his custom. As was his custom! He prayed. Discipline. Discipline comes from God. It’s deposited into your life and mine when we surrender ourselves. And many times, in fact I would say in my life it happens every day, when I die to self. If I don’t die to self all of a sudden MY dreams, MY vision, MY desires come to the surface and you’re the same way. So spiritually we need it.
Spiritually we need to say, too, I’m gonna revolve my life around the local church. I’m not gonna wait until I don’t have a choice, I’m not gonna wait until the alarm sounds. I’m not gonna wait until maybe says to go to brunch or this game or this concert or whatever. I’m going to purpose in my heart to be a part of the church.
Morally. We need discipline in the moral domain, don’t we? Filters on our computers, the places we go, some of the premium movie channels, Hells Box Office, Show It All The Time, Sin to the Max, all sorts of things. Do you have those channels? You’re gonna be trolling at night. And it got quiet. Every time I said that in every service people are like, “Heh-heh… heh-heh… trolling at ….” You see, we’re taking a God-given desire and using it in a God-forbidden way. That’s lust. That’s lust.
T.S. Now some people say, “OK, Ed. I feel ya, man. I see what you’re saying. I need more discipline. Discipline comes from God. That’s the deal!” No, it’s much more than that. There’s the climb. I’ve only been talking about the climb. Let’s talk about cruising.
Because the Lord doesn’t leave us in a lurch there’s a payoff to discipline. Think about the payoff. Zachariah 4:6 says, “Not by might nor by my power…” Right? If I try to be disciplined on my own it’s like Buzz Lightyear without wings. “But by my Spirit (it’s a Spirit thing) says the Lord Almighty.”
Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we’ll reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
If we don’t say, “Oh the hill’s too tall! It’s to hellacious! The fire’s too hot! Oh man, it’s just… the fight is too difficult…” No, no, no, no, no! God has you and me right where he wants us. We should be comfortably uncomfortable. And that’s why I’m so glad that Fellowship Church is a church full of those who are comforted by Christ but, I’ll say it again, we’re uncomfortable for him.
1 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given us a spirit of timidity.” Don’t run away from the hard yards! “But of power and of love and (here’s the D-word) discipline!”
The word ‘disciple’… people say, “Oh, how about discipleship. I want to be a disciple.” It comes from the word ‘discipline.’ Discipline and maturity go hand in hand.
Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is self-control.” It’s control of the self, by the Spirit, for the sake of the gospel. Self-control. And I only have it when I die to self and say, “God, you’re the blank.”
But let’s talk about the payoff right quick. Let’s talk about the payoff. Think about the payoff physically. I eat right, I do what I need to do. And Lisa and I eat clean about 90% of the time, 10% we don’t. We have fun, you know? If I do that it gives me the energy and the health to better do what God wants me to do. The discipline in the diet.
Illus: Just for example over the last several days I will tell you what I’ve done. And I’m not telling you this for you to go, “Oh, that’s incredible how hard Ed worked… oh…” Oh we love to tell people how hard we’ve worked.
“How you doin’?”
“Oh, I’m busy, man. I’m busy.” But let me tell you. Last week we drove to Houston, spoke seven times to a squillion people down there at this conference. That was awesome. Drove back Sunday afternoon. Monday I kinda got the holy hangover done. Tuesday morning I flew to Columbia, South Carolina and met with the leaders of the church we just merged with. I saw a lot of different properties and dealt with that whole situation. The next morning I flew to Virginia Beach, VA, did some stuff there, had some meetings there with staff and leaders. After that I went to Kalamazoo, Michigan and spoke at a church there with leaders from all over the north, also some members of the church. I talked with the staff. Got home that night in beautiful Dallas/Fort Worth at 10:30 p.m.
But guess what? It’s Thursday and Sunday’s coming! I gotta write a term paper that’s Biblical, deep, poignant where people who have no clue about God or church or Christianity. And some have been coming to church for a long, long time, some are even seminary professors and I’ve gotta give a message. I gotta memorize it and it’s Thursday? What?!? So then I do that and then Saturday night after the service I meet with some leaders here, Lisa and I do another speech to some other leaders. Then today I’ve already spoken once, speaking right now, and then I’ve got another meeting where I’ve gotta do another presentation. I couldn’t do this, Lisa could not do this, unless… here’s the payoff… discipline. Physical discipline. That’s just me.
Everybody has their stressors. You have stressors that I don’t have. I have stressors that you don’t have. Everybody has the same amount of stress. It’s not like, oh he has more stress… no. Everybody does. I don’t care who it is. But I’m saying to you, take care of your body physically.
Think about financially. Talk to people who have walked with God for a long time financially. First fruits, boom! To the church. Put away 10%. Live on 80%.
Whenever I have an opportunity in my travels to talk to people who are financial leaders in churches, and when I talk to our financial leaders here, every one of them are like, so positive! It’s just incredible! They’re like, “Yeah! Let’s do it! Let’s take the hill! Let’s climb! Let’s do it! Let’s push the chips back on the table. We’re Fellowship Church! We’re all about the risk! We’re not gonna live off the interest!” They’re that way. I wonder why? It’s a God thing. They’ve been disciplined. It’s so hard to write that check, to make that transfer, 10%? To the church? Ahhh!!! And saving 10%? Planned spending and living on 80%.
It’s pretty basic. You spend less than you take in. That’s the problem. That’s a problem in our world today with our government. Just spend less than you take in. It’s not that hard. You don’t have to have an Ivy League education or a degree from MIT to figure that out. So anyway, that’s the financial benefits. And I look back in our lives with Lisa and I and many others I know and see the blessings and the favor of God. As we move this church forward God is gonna bless a lot of people here financially.
Think about it. Look at Fellowship Church. This place didn’t appear. We’ve never had the resources to do anything we’ve ever done. EVER, in 21 years. We’re the #1 entity in the nation of Haiti that feeds children. Over a million meals this year that we provided for orphans in Haiti. Now, if we didn’t have people who were being blessed financially we couldn’t do it. We couldn’t expand to Columbia, South Carolina. We couldn’t do or have what we have.
One day it’ll be like, “Hey. I have enough toys.” I mean, come on. You can only have enough this or that or whatever. What’s it about? It’s about discipline. Does God want us to enjoy stuff? Yeah, he wants us to enjoy stuff, but it’s also about discipline. When we’re disciplined in this area whether we’re making $15,000 a year or $15 million a year, God is going to bless your life. There are financial blessings that accrue in people’s lives. Many times it’s blessings that finances can’t even touch.
How about relationally? The climb before the cruise. Relationally. Only dating people, singles, who are believers. Relationally. Setting aside that date night/mate night in marriage. When you’re doing that you’re showing your kids, wow. The marriage is more important than your kids’ relationship to you. The marriage is the main thing. And then your kids will go out and find spouses like you, who have a marriage-centric, a spouse-centric home and not a kid-centric home. This is one of the many, many benefits. And we perpetuate the foundation of the family, which affects the community, which affects the state and the nation and the world. I think you feel it.
Spiritually we think about the church. We think about those advance decisions. We think about the bride of Christ, keeping her at the forefront. The blessings I see in people’s lives who have committed this way are unbelievable. Every race, every color, every stage, every age. Pink collar, white collar, orange collar! When people revolve their lives around the church, God blesses. It’s the climb before the cruise. Many of us right now are experiencing the cruising.
Those who are bold about purity, and we’re built for purity. We’re hardwired for purity. Those who are bold and those who are disciplined about purity, the payoff is huge. Guilt-free sex in marriage. Walking around with a clear conscience. There’s nothing like it. So the payoff is monstrous. So what are you doing?
“OH, just give me the blessings and the favor and the…” Or are you saying,
“God, I’m willing to do what you want me to do, to tap into the stuff you’ve given me to give myself to you. You control me. That’s when I really have self control and discipline. You can take me through the fire, through the fight. And when I climb I know the cruise is gonna be stunning. Stunning.”
Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Oh, I like that. Give me the desires of my heart? I love that! But first, delight yourself in the Lord. THEN he will give you the desires of your heart. Because see, this incredible exchange takes place. My desires for his desires and then, boom. You have this synchronization taking place.
Illus: You know, years ago a guy was in his early 30’s and he climbed up a hill. And everything in his life said, “Quit! Stop! Don’t do it!” and the hill I’m talking about was the hill just outside of Jerusalem, Golgotha. The man I’m talking about was named Jesus. He climbed. You talk about discipline? You talk about crashing through quitting points? He died on the cross for your sins and mine. Buried – the climb. Rose again – the cruise. And he had us on his heart and mind because he knew how we could cruise as we’re fighting not for victory but from victory.
So, church, discipline starts and ends with God. Discipline isn’t discipline enough but God is God enough. So make him Lord and he will take you through the climb and the cruise. You’ll feel the wind of true success in your face.
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]