Discipline Today Is Greatness Tomorrow
My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. — Proverbs 4:20-27
I think some people would fly over this section of Solomon's wisdom, assuming it's trivial. They would read over this quickly and almost negate his wisdom. But his wisdom is not trivial. Solomon understands that "trivial" matters produce significant success. He understands that simple repetitive behaviors have the potential to produce tremendous long-term gains.
For example, if you want to be really great at something, you'll have to make a bunch of small changes sustained over a long period of time. Consider an athlete. But not just any athlete, consider the best athlete you know. Pick one. Think about someone you might even consider a genetic phenom. Whoever that is, I guarantee that even though they are genetically gifted, they know the importance of discipline in a way that let's say average athletes do not. They wake and sleep on a regiment. They eat for function, not for taste. They carefully monitor their caloric input and output. They train for hours each day, stretching, working, and rehabbing their body. They have very specific workout plans that build over months. They watch and study films of others in their sport for hours on end. And then we, the spectator, are entranced by their performance. And then we think that if we played the same sport, got the same gear, and replicated the way they played, we could get the same results. You know what that is — it's laughable. Because the secret to their performance on the field is the hundreds of thousands of hours of discipline over decades that got them there! And this is true of anybody who is an expert in their field.
But here, Solomon applies this principle to his son's character. How a godly man should live. And he encourages three fundamental disciplines. First, the discipline of what he sees. Second, the discipline of what he speaks. Third, the discipline of how he walks. These are not trivial. What we look at, what we say, and how we walk are not trivial activities. They are fundamental, and they must be disciplined. And great men discipline them consistently. They discipline all three daily — eyes, mouth, and action.
Now, this can be overwhelming if you have never considered it. So here is your actionable for today. I want you to pick one of the three — your eyes, mouth, or action. And I want you to make a covenant of discipline with one of them. A covenant of discipline that you implement daily for a long time. For example, you could choose to make a covenant to never curse with your mouth ever again. And then, if this is your choice, I want you to write that in the comments below. I want your word to be a covenant between you and God. And then I want you to discipline yourself daily when it comes to the language you use. Now you are not going to be perfect right away, but that's okay. Because disciplining your words will take some time. But if you do this daily over a long period of time, it has the potential to produce tremendous long-term gains. Some of which you will only see further down the road. And then, let's do this. Let's talk in about ten years or so and hear how you are doing. For somewhere right about that 10-year point, someone will notice that you are doing something they want to do themselves. And then you can share this same wisdom with them, as I did with you, and as Solomon did to his son.
Son, and fellas, be disciplined today and be great tomorrow!
ASK THIS: Which one needs discipline — your eyes, mouth, or action?
DO THIS: Make a covenant of discipline with one and write it below.
PRAY THIS: God, receive my covenant of discipline. And may the Spirit give me strength!
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Read through the Bible daily with Vince Miller.