I can either discipline myself, or someone else will step in to do it.
For example, I can either have the self-discipline to drive the speed limit, or a police officer will write me a ticket.
I can either discipline myself to pay bills when they are due, or incur late fees.
I can discipline myself to eat healthy foods and exercise regularly, or balloon out of control.
I tried to teach this to my children as they grew up. "If you will discipline yourself, then I won't need to step in and do it for you. It is your choice."
Consequently, I am a fairly disciplined person, which basically means that I thrive in a disciplined environment. I am happiest when there is discipline and order in my life. It does not always mean that I practice discipline; it just means that I aim to and am happiest when I am successful.
There are times, though, when my self-discipline gets out of whack and I must calibrate myself. I wonder if the apostle Paul was lamenting a lack of discipline in his life when he said,
"For I have the desire to do what is good but I cannot carry it out...So I find this law at work: when I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
I can relate.
Paul is really whacking himself, totally frustrated with the war at work between his mind and body. How many times have I wanted to lose weight (in theory) but not enough to deny myself certain foods? How bummed out am I about the state of my closet, or my drawers, or even my house, and why isn't it enough to cause me to muster the energy to tackle it after a day of work? How many projects have I started and left unfinished? How often have I wanted to have a more intimate relationship with God but got "too busy" to communicate with him on a regular basis? What happened to that daily Bible reading plan I had?
It helps to know that I am not alone in this battle of my mind and body.
Thanks be to God, indeed.
Can you relate?