The need to be a good steward of our lives brings me to the verse that I consider to be the most hard-hitting:
2 Timothy 1:7 - God did not give us a spirit of fear. Rather, God gave us a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline.To have a spirit of fear is to draw back from being all that you are created to be. Christians are encouraged to be good stewards of what God has given them (Matthew 25:14-30). We are promised that more responsibility will be given to us as we demonstrate our ability to care for what we have been given. Clearly, God intends for us to take care of what we have. If I do not have adequate discipline in my life, I can hinder myself from doing all that God has called me to do.
Other translations use the words sound mind in place of self-discipline. A sound mind is level-headed, able to act clearly in tense situations. I particularly like Matthew Henry's description of a sound mind as a quiet mind. Discipline gives structure; lack of discipline leads to chaos. If I am undisciplined, how quiet is my mind? Am I given over to stress and worry as my life spirals out of control? If I have discipline, I am more likely to be calm and ordered. I would also make the argument that if I have discipline, I am more likely to hear God's voice, which is characterized as being a still small voice. If my life and my mind is chaotic, how can I be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10)? I must have discipline in my life. I must be willing to have discipline over my actions in order to avoid receiving discipline from God. As 2 Timothy 1:7 says, God has given me a spirit of self-discipline. Through Christ, I can do all things (Philippians 4:13).
This brings me to the next question that I have for myself: what is the discipline that God would have me follow? What does the Bible say on how I should live? How much of what I do is because God has told me to do it? How much do I do because I want to do it? How much do I do because someone else has told me to do it? I believe the most efficient way to try to find these answers is to make a list of areas I know I need work on and then research each part. Any recommendations on good books to read concerning this?