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Session 7

The benefit of discipline

Read: 1 Timothy 4:7-11

Running a marathon isn’t something we just wake up and do. To build the endurance to finish a 26.2-mile race takes months of strict, physical training. To get up every morning and run, whether or not you feel like it, takes commitment and discipline.

While there are physical benefits to this kind of training — strong legs, a healthy heart, washboard abs — there’s a spiritual benefit to learning discipline as well.  In 1 Timothy 4, Paul compares the drive it takes us to finish the Christian life well to the drive it takes to train for a race.

There are going to be mornings where we don’t feel like reading the Bible. There will be Sundays where we don’t feel like serving. There will be people we don’t feel like forgiving. But like the athlete who pushes through to reach his goal, we make a conscious choice each day to push past our feelings and circumstances to keep following Jesus.

The difference between physical training and mental training is the reward. "For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8).

The medal we receive at the end of a race is nothing compared to the spiritual strength we receive when we learn to value discipline. Striving toward physical goals are great goals to have. But striving toward godliness has value in this life and the one to come.


  • What’s one area of your spiritual life where you’re lacking discipline?
  • What’s the longest you ever worked to reach a goal? What did that experience teach you about discipline and perseverance?
  • How can you can apply some of the lessons you learned in that experience to being more disciplined in your spiritual life?

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