II Timothy 2:22 “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

Genesis 39:11-12 “And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within.  And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.”

II Samuel 11:2-3a “And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.  And David sent and enquired after the woman.”

I recently came across this stunning though not surprising thought in the book Atomic Habits: “When scientists analyze people who appear to have tremendous self-control, it turns out those individuals aren’t all that different from those who are struggling.  Instead, ‘disciplined’ people are better at structuring their lives in a way that does not require willpower and self-control.  In other words, they spend less time in tempting situations.”

Discipline comes largely through structure and intentionality, not solely through some personally-manufactured willpower and self-control in the spur of the moment.  As soon as Joseph saw he was in a bad situation, he fled.  In contrast, when David saw he was in a tempting situation, he lingered.  In many ways, we are a product of our surroundings – those with whom we spend time and those things with which we surround ourselves. 

If you want to start a disciplined process in your life, schedule it and structure your life and your surroundings around it; linger on it.  If you want to eradicate an undisciplined process in your life, structure your life and your surroundings to avoid it; flee from it.  In these ways, we can better strive towards lives characterized by righteousness, faith, charity, and peace.

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO EXPRESS DISCIPLINE BY STRUCTURING DISCIPLINE INTO OUR LIVES.  Tremendous self-control, for clinging to the good and avoiding the bad, comes largely through intentional structure designed to live life with a pure heart.