Helping the Undisciplined

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How do we help those who struggle to maintain discipline? In these notes from a session at REACH 2019, Irene considers the Scriptural basis for discipline, the purpose for disciplined living, and tools to grow our discipline.


Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. (Genesis 1:28)

Being disciplined is the foundation for living a righteous lifestyle that reflects Jesus and brings glory to God.

Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. (1 Corinthians 9:25)

Sacrifice or effort in developing godly habits is costly for Christians because they are preparing to win an eternal crown.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1)

Exercising self-discipline brings focus to doing the necessary things instead of being distracted by doing easier but less productive things.

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied. (Proverbs 13:4)

A disciplined person endures hardship for a greater cause then immediate gratification. They sacrifice because the discipline justifies the end result.

A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. (Proverbs 25:28)

God gave Adam and Eve the first opportunity to develop a healthy habit. They failed. People fail.


Cultivates Purposeful Lifestyle

  • The ultimate purpose in being disciplined is to love God, to love others and to live a fruitful life that will glorify and honor God.
  • Paul cultivated a purposeful lifestyle that was costly, but he glorified God by advancing God’s Kingdom.

Builds Healthy Habits

  • Studies show that it takes at least two to three weeks to create new habits.
  • Bright lines are hard and fast rules that can help people from procrastinating when building new habits.
  • Bright lines conserve energy because people are not deciding whether they made or broke their goals.

Grows Willpower Muscles

  • “State” refers to a person’s level of willpower that fluctuates from moment to moment.
  • Studies show that conflict, stress and lack of sleep depletes a person’s “state.”
  • “Trait” refers to a person’s natural willpower muscles.
  • “Trait” muscles vary from person to person, but everyone can grow these muscles.


Ask Questions

  • An undisciplined person often feels ashamed of their inability to accomplish their goals.
  • Undisciplined people want to be disciplined, but they struggle accomplishing them on their own.
  • Asking questions is crucial in understanding the person and their struggle.

Help Prioritize

  • Most people have time to accomplish their goals if they prioritize and learn to say “no,” to distractions that are time wasters.
  • People become disciplined by intentionally choosing how they live each day.

Teach Accountability

  • Accountability is about building relationships that are characterized by love, acceptance, encouragement, trust, and long-suffering.
  • Accountability is not about perfection but about helping people accomplish more than they would if they were not accountable to someone.

Begin Small

  • Begin small when establishing a new habit.
  • If people try to do too much on day one, they will drain their willpower and fail to repeat the behavior the next day.
  • Without repetition new habits will not grow.

Make It Measurable

  • Developing habits is easier if people make them measurable and fit them into their schedule.
  • Many individuals begin new habits because they feel motivated, but often their goals tend to be lofty and undefined

Connect Weekly or Biweekly

  • When helping the undisciplined, we must stay connected.
  • Connecting weekly is ideal when helping people create new habits.

Keep Going

  • We must inspire, equip, and motivate people to keep going when they experience interruptions difficulty, discomfort, and failure.
  • Pushing through discomfort and difficulty helps people become disciplined.

Concluding Thoughts

  • God created people to be fruitful.
  • Developing a disciplined lifestyle honors God.
  • We become productive when habits become established.
  • Disciplined people will be more resilient and motivated to be effective kingdom builders.

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