Success and Personal Discipline
Sometimes becoming successful happens by being lucky. Examples of “lucky” success include winning the lottery, finding a painting or first edition of a book at a garage sale or estate sale that ends up worth millions, or having distant relatives leave you a fortune in their will.
You might even write and publish a book full of typos and grammatical errors that somehow captures the public’s fancy and sells many copies. While I haven’t read it myself, I hear the E. L. James “Fifty Shades of Grey” falls into this category.
Well, you get the picture. These things could happen but the likelihood of them happening to you while not impossible is slim to none.
Success generally requires consistent hard work. This article will look at the necessity of personal disciple to be successful viewing six “musts” for God’s Word. Then I will give six additional points from the Bible that will provide a plan for self-control.
The Necessity of Personal Disciple: To be Successful…
1. I must master my moods.
Proverbs 25:28 English Standard Version (ESV), “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”
A writer needs to put their bottom in the chair and write on a regular basis. You need to go to work even when you don’t feel like it.
2. I must watch my words.
Proverbs 13:3 (ESV), “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.”
Are you a nitpicker or a good finder? As a writer, you receive a book review that you disagree with. Don’t get into a disagreement with the review (in person or online).
3. I must restrain my actions.
Proverbs 19:11 (ESV), “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”
2 Timothy 4:5 (ESV), “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
Do you react with passion or respond with grace? The former can hurt or even destroy your writing ministry. The later both honors God and allows your witness to be untarnished.
4. I must stick to my schedule.
Ephesians 5:15-16 (ESV), “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil.”
If you don’t schedule your time someone else will. I am not suggesting a detailed minute by minute schedule but a general one. For example, I do my quiet time early in the morning, followed by three to four hours of writing, and then end my morning with a walk. My afternoon is for reading, the business of writing activities (as opposed to writing the first draft), and answering emails.
5. I must manage my money.
Proverbs 21:20 The Living Bible (TLB), “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.”
The obvious takeaway is to avoid impulse spending/buying. You should also save part of your income from your writing. Your book may not earn out its advance or your next advance may not be as much as your last one (if you get any advance).
We’ve looked at five reasons why self-discipline is needed to be successful. Now let’s look at six-steps that will help you develop the necessary self-control.
Six Steps for Developing Self-control.
1. Admit your lack of discipline.
Romans 7:15-18 (ESV), “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. Sometime you fail to execute your plans. Ask God to help you follow through.”
2. Believe that God will help you.
Philippians 2:23 (ESV), “I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me,”
Faith is important in self-control.
3. Claim a promise.
Isaiah 41:10 (ESV), “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Philippians 4:13 (ESV), “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV), “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
When I was in seminary, I recall a wise older professor saying, “Since God called you to ministry, He’ll provide you with a place of ministry.”
The same is true with a writing ministry. God will provide the right market place.
4. Decide in advance.
Proverbs 13:16 (ESV), “Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.
Ephesians 6:13 (ESV), “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”
Pay the price in training, regular writing, and submitting your work. When the rejection slips or emails come, don’t let them defeat you.
5. Enlist some support.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12 (ESV), “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! … And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
Make yourself accountable. An accountability partner, agent, or writer’s group can help.
6. Focus on the reward.
Philippians 3:14 (ESV), “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Your rewards are financial, physical, and spiritual.”