The apostle Paul exhorts Timothy, "Discipline yourself for the purpose of Godliness" (1 Timothy 4:7). Does this seem strange? It shouldn’t. The word discipline in our English Bibles is the word from which we get the words "gymnasium" and "gymnastics". It reminds us of constant practice in the gym. The gymnastics routine must be done over and over again. And the same goes for skating, skiing, tennis, golf, or a team sport like football or basketball. Practice, practice, practice. That’s the name of the game.
The same is true for the Christian life. "Discipline yourself." If you have a problem getting into the Bible, you must work at it. Set a time each day and read your Bible. It takes discipline. We can say the same thing about prayer. You must practice prayer. You must discipline yourself and pray regularly. Keep a written prayer list and check off God’s answers to your prayers.
Does some particular sin often trip you? Discipline yourself. "Flee youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace" (2 Timothy 2:22). Turn away from the temptation to sin over and over again. Work on forming new habits. Discipline yourself. But here is a warning. You can’t do this alone. You must be a Christian. The power of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, must be at work in your life.