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Improving Your Self Esteem Through Self Discipline

2 Timothy 2:2-4 (AMP)
"And the [instructions] which you have heard from me along with many witnesses, transmit and entrust [as a deposit] to reliable and faithful men who will be competent and qualified to teach others also. Take [with me] your share of the hardships and suffering [which you are called to endure] as a good (first class) soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier when in service gets entangled in the enterprises of [civilian] life; his aim is to satisfy and please the one who enlisted him."

Colossians 3:3-10 (AMP)
"For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new real] life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [the splendour of His] glory. So kill (deaden, deprive of power) the evil desire lurking in your members [those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin]: sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry (the defying of self and other created things instead of God). It is on account of these [very sins] that the [holy] anger of God is ever coming upon the sons of disobedience (those who are obstinately opposed to the divine will), among whom you also once walked, when you were living and addicted to [such practices]. But now put away and rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, bad feeling toward others, curses and slander, foulmouthed abuse and shameful utterances from your lips! Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old (unregenerate) self with its evil practices, and have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remoulded into [fuller and more perfect knowledge upon] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him who created it.

God designed women to be successful and fulfilled in their own individual way as much as he designed it for men. How do you see yourself? On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you rate your confidence levels in relation to what you desire to achieve in life.

Do you know that as women, God has placed within us enormous potential for personal success and the ability to led and influence others? But potential is like a seed - it never produces until it is planted - or acted upon. The Bible exhorts us to be "Doers of the Word" not hearers only deceiving ourselves.

It takes on an incredible amount of discipline, hard work and talent to rise to the top in any profession or calling. No matter how great your talents are or the field of your endeavour unless you are personally disciplined much of your potential will remain just that - potential.

"Discipline" according to the dictionary means to "instruct or educate, to inform the mind, to prepare by instructing in correct principles and habits to advance and prepare by instruction." Many athletes, musicians and politicians are enormously disciplined in their quest for success in their profession, but they are undisciplined in their personal lives and ultimately suffer for it in every area of their lives.

As women of God we need to tighten up in the slack areas of our lives. Allow the Holy Spirit to show us and pinpoint those areas that we remain unhappy and unfulfilled in. He wants to guide us and lead us. Proverbs 20:27 says "The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly." This means that the Lord wants to illuminate in us (through revelation knowledge) what we need to know about ourselves in order to make the adjustments we need to make. The Lord wants to mould and shape our personalities so that we become "vessels unto honour", fit for His use. Have you ever noticed how a lazy person is full of excuses? They always have to rationalise and justify their own inability to produce results. Proverbs 26:16 says, "the sluggard (or lazy person) is wiser in his own eyes and conceit then seven men who can render a reason and answer discreetly." Lazy people are good starters, but never finishes. They always drop out mid-course. Up comes the pressure, down goes the effect.

Discipline itself frequently brings pain but the pain is temporary while the growth is permanent.

When I was a little girl, I used to watch my mum decorate cakes with icing sugar. She used to do all types of marvellous creations, for weddings, engagements, birthdays and baby dedications. I used to marvel at her skill and the painstaking time it took to create intricate masterpieces. Mum fine-tuned her talent because she disciplined herself to stay up late at night and practicing her skill. This was a huge commitment as she had three small children and a farm to run and things could get pretty tough at times. Everybody wanted Mum's cakes and I'm sure she could have turned her talent into a thriving income producing venture, if she wanted to.

Many women are extremely talented, but unless we discipline and motivate ourselves and trust the hand to guide us in wisdom our talent will remain untapped. We can choose to see our life through "rose coloured glasses" or through "woes coloured glasses". We can, in other words, choose to be optimistic or pessimistic.

Champions start and keep going. One champion athlete was asked how he handled pain and he said, "I pray through it. I say to the Lord, 'You pick 'em up, and I'll put 'em down.' " When we get that foot up, it's relatively easy to put it down and take that next step. We need to take pride in what we do. P-R-I-D-E is "Personal Responsibility in Daily Endeavours." Two of the missing ingredients in today's society is pride in our personal appearance and pride in performance on the job. If we discipline ourselves to reach for a standard of excellence in all that we do, we will experience great personal growth.

Just reaching towards a goal we set ourselves causes us to stretch, and our efforts will be rewarded with satisfying results. We can learn a lot from the army. What would you think of an army full of pansies and wimps, long hair, six earrings in each ear, how about a nose stud, an undercut, or mohawk? Complete the picture with round shoulders, skinny arms and legs, pale faces, thongs, home-boy pants. Wow! Boggles the mind, doesn't it? I tell you what, if that's a picture of the military defending our country, I'd be waving the white flag before the first shot!! But what about the reverse picture. Well-toned and muscled bodies, short hair cuts, square shoulders, chest out, the preciseness of the drill, the crease in the trousers or the shirt, the shine on the shoes - all scream pride and precision. They command respect. It's obvious that their potential has been disciplined to produce the desired result - Victory!! You know it's a true saying that if you want to "fly with the eagles, don't run with the turkeys." 2 Timothy 2:15 says, "Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God, approved (tested by trial) a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analysing and accurately dividing - rightly handling and skilfully teaching the Word of Truth."

In order "to have" tomorrow we need "to do" today what needs to be done. If we want the affairs of our lives to be guided with discretion, if we want our characters to be strong, disciplined and to be hallmarked by wisdom, then we need to discipline ourselves to seek the Lord, to spend time studying the scriptures, praying in the Spirit, building up and edifying ourselves. We also need to show respect for those whom God has placed in authority over us. Discipline and respect go hand in hand. Hebrews 13:17 admonishes us "Obey your spiritual leaders and submit to them -continually recognising their authority over you, for they are constantly keeping watch over your souls and guarding your spiritual welfare, as men who will have to render an account of their trust in you". Do your part to let them do this with gladness, and not with sighing and groaning, for that would not be profitable for you.

Women of genius are admired. Women of wealth are envied. Women of power are feared, but only women of character are trusted.

It's building your character on the firm foundations of the Word of God that will pull you through when the going gets tough. You won't be found undermining, or engaging in whingeing, or consumed by jealousy at the success of others if you build good things in your life.

Over the years I have observed people whose lives are at best mediocre. They always find fault with others, they promise but do not fulfill their vows, they sow sparingly but gripe abundantly. It seems they have a mandate to preside as judge and jury of everybody, particularly the Pastor. 

I see unfulfillment and frustration eating away at them, but they never seem to examine themselves, their words or their actions. Listen to their conversation and it will exhibit large doses of the "tall poppy mentality," "I'm poor," "I can't afford it," or "I'm just a battler." They are loyal to no-one but themselves. If a crises occurs, they always see the black side of everything, and feel insecure and lost. No wonder! Listen, if you keep company with a scorner, they'll rub off on you, if you keep company with what's small minded, petty, jealous, disrespectful, judging, empathises with the battler mentality, that's what you'll become and that's where you'll stay. That's called "running with the turkeys."

Now, if you are quite content to run with the turkeys, that's OK by me, but don't let me see a gun in your hand aiming up at the eagles. That's called envy, and you know what envy does? It shoots at others, but wounds herself. It'll backfire on you.

I am reminded of an ad I saw on television last year. There was a young woman who was in a changing room in a clothing shop. She pulled on a very snug fitting pair of jodhpurs, zipped it up and stepped out of the cubicle to view herself in the mirror. Two other girls were in the shop and they gazed at her lovely figure in those snug jodhpurs. Then the two girls looked at each other and said in unison, "Bitch!"

That might sound funny, but it's certainly a true reflection of how many women react to somebody they think is better looking than themselves. How very sad! I'll bet the two girls who weren't happy with their own figures weren't putting forth any effort to change themselves. 

Shaun always says, "don't complain about what you allow." If you have a low self image, you can improve it! You first of all have to BELIEVE you can apply FAITH and then EFFORT and you'll get the RESULTS! Remember, quitters never win and winners never quit. Don't dream up thousands of reasons why you can't do what you want to do, instead, find one reason why you can. Those who complain about the way the ball bounces are often the ones who dropped it. 

Don't set as your role model someone who battles the same battle you do. Find someone who's been there and done that. Someone who has conquered in that area. Listen, if you want to lose weight, don't set your role model on someone who can't win the war in the area of disciplining their flesh and appetites. If you want to get fit (and you should, because your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit), then don't chum up with a couch potato! You'll both justify each other..."I've got a slow metabolism", "I can't afford gym fees" (mind you no effort has been spent to believe God for the money!), "I'm genetically big", "It's not my fault, I take after my grandmother", "I don't have any time." Sound familiar? Well you see, you don't have to pump iron, to lose a bit of weight, just go walking everyday for half an hour and be disciplined in what you eat and you'll see great results. You'll feel better too!

You've become an achiever! you'll be proud of yourself. See yourself as God sees you "in control", not weighed down by sinful attitudes that cut the blessings off from your life. See yourself as attractive to your husband. Seek out the information, educate yourself in those areas, put forth the effort. YOU CAN'T CONSISTENTLY PERFORM IN A MANNER THAT IS INCONSISTENT WITH THE WAY YOU SEE YOURSELF.

You don't have to squeeze yourself into a mould. God loves you as you are, but he wants you to be happy and fulfilled. We love you as you are, you don't have to be skinny as a stick and dressed in designer clothes to be loved and accepted by this ministry, but you do have to deal with your attitudes, if they are wrong before God. We don't want you to hinder yourself or others. Anything in life you want to achieve is reachable and attainable if you:

1. Believe it
2. Put forth the effort
3. Discipline your flesh
4. Keep at it! Don't quit

Stand to your feet. Let's say this confession... 

I ....................., an a courageous, caring, compassionate, humble, teachable, optimistic, conscientious, hard-working woman. I take genuine pride in my appearance and performance. My self image is good and is getting better because I am dependable, confident, motivated, bold as a lion, and personable, and I have a good sense of humour. These are the qualities of thew inner Jesus wants me to be and today I am using these qualities in my persona, family, church and business life." Hallelujah!!

1 Peter 3:3 says, "Let not yours be the "merely" external adorning with elaborate interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewellery or changes of clothes, but let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart."

In 1 Peter we read that it's not the outer person or appearance that is of primary importance to God but the heart of a person. However, it doesn't say however that we should completely ignore these areas, but that we should have these things in perspective. There is a middle of the road to be found. Notice that the amplified version says "merely", which means, not to let your outward man be your sole focus of attention, neglecting, dealing with your inner man. The Bible for Today says, "Don't depend on the external adorning", that's self-explanatory isn't it? God wants women to be well balanced in their appearance. He also wants us to be attractive for our husbands and be happy and fulfilled.

Notice that the amplified version says "merely", which means, not to let your outward man be your sole focus of attention, neglecting, dealing with your inner man. The Bible for Today says, "Don't depend on the external adorning", that's self-explanatory isn't it? God wants women to be well balanced in their appearance. He also wants us to be attractive for our husbands and be happy and fulfilled.

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