The IMPORTANCE of SELF-DISCIPLINE: "I have made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I look upon a young woman? Does He (God) not see my ways, and count all my steps? (Job 31:1, 4)
After defending his position before his friend, Job speaks about the self-discipline that he had always maintained so far. Job did not speak anything by way of boasting, but in answer to the charge of hypocrisy. Job understood that the spiritual nature of God's commandments reaches to the thoughts and intents of his heart so Job made certain decisions in his life that evolved out of self-discipline.
In his final defense, Job recounted his life of strict moral integrity (Job 31:1–4). He had been scrupulously honest in all his business dealings (vv. 5–8), had never committed the sin of adultery (vv. 9–12), had treated his servants gently and with respect (vv. 13–15), had met the needs of the poor and needy (vv. 16–23), had resisted the attractions of material wealth (vv. 24–25), had not fallen into idolatry (vv. 26–28), had not engaged in any form of personal revenge (vv. 29–30), was careful to entertain strangers (vv. 31–32), did not conceal his sins from God (vv. 33–34), and did not abuse his stewardship of fields and properties (vv. 35–40). Job’s only regret was that God seemed not to have noticed his life of integrity and self-discipline (vv. 35–37). However, we know that God had noticed that Job "was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil" (Job 1:1), and the end of the story of Job was much better than the beginning.
As a child of God, it is very important for us to maintain self-discipline in our lives. It is very easy to get tempted by Satan and the pleasures that the world has to offer us. However, the path of sin is very slippery (Psalms 73:18) and we have to set some guards in our lives early on so that we are not drawn away by our desires and enticed to sin (James 1:13-15).
Early on in his ministry in 1948, the famous evangelist Billy Graham and his core leadership team took certain decisions for maintaining self-discipline in four areas listed below:
- Financial Accountability: Billy’s team committed themselves to integrity and openness in all their financial dealings.
- Sexual Indiscretions: Due to the possibility as well as the appearance of sexual indiscretions, Billy and his team committed together to guard themselves against sexual sin. Billy committed to never be alone with a woman other than his wife, and made other commitments safe-guarding this purity.
- Model of evangelists working in concert with the local churches: Billy’s team committed to work with the local churches wherever possible in the proclamation of the Gospel.
- Finally, Billy’s team noted that many evangelists inflate their numbers to validate their ministry. They committed to doing their best in accurately reporting crowd size and decisions. To do otherwise was rooted in pride and had no place in the proclamation of the Gospel.