Self-Discipline vs Self-denial

(Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh. Colossians 2:21-23

The idea of self-discipline seems so good. I only wish we were all able to genuinely produce whatever type of change we wanted to see in ourselves. I was recently asked what is the difference between self-discipline and self-denial. I said self-discipline is pushing ourselves or putting pressure on ourselves to change and self-denial is saying no to self altogether. The pressure of self-discipline is often maintained through goals or rules. The emphasis is generally on working and doing as the means to change. If we change as a result of self-discipline, we feel proud of what we have accomplished. This type of practice may help us deal with the first two areas that are not of God: the lust of the eyes, and the lust of the flesh; Yet will, more then likely, fill us completely full of the third areathe pride of life, which also, is not like God. Self-discipline then is busy and noisy which is the opposite of the gratefulness to the Lord who wants us to grow in Him.

On the other hand, self-denial is not merely saying no to ourselves, as it is saying yes to the Spirit of God. When I say yes to the Spirit of God, it is an automatic no for myself.  So the Spirit of God gains control of my life. It is something God does in and for us. Let me ask: Is the way we get more of  God through self-denial or do we get more of God, which results in less of us? Isn’t this self-denial? Please, do not try to deny yourself to get more of God because you never will. Why don’t we decide now to pursue more of God, and we will surely find, that will mean less of us! 

He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30  

Don’t say I must decrease so that He can increase, but rather say He must increase therefore I must decrease. It is dangerous to get the decrease ahead of His increase. 


4 thoughts on “Self-Discipline vs Self-denial

  1. Powerful!!! 5 or 600 more times and I pray it will sink in. The challenge is that we we are battling nearly a half century of habit, practices, doctrine and tradition. Stuff that has been driven so deep into our psyche that it is challenging to change those habits, doctrines, and traditions. So much residual memory. The old man is so deeply entrenched that it’s hard to find the new man and put him on.

  2. Change comes when you truly take Jesus as your Lord and Savoir. 2Corinthians 5:17(KJV) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. Sometimes we need to look at our salvation and truly look at our heart. Did we really accept Jesus as our Lord and Savoir if we did then old thing should of passed away, he tells us that. We become new creatures. Salvation is the key here if you are struggling with the past the old person. Then I would truly look at your heart and your salvation you must give it all to Him everything. He will truly change you. I pray we truly find Him and put away our stuggles with our man or woman bodies and walk full of the Holy Spirit. Thank you Jesus for giving us our Salvation.

    • While your comment is quite true as we look at the current condition of our churches we see them filled with folks that have been converted but not truly born again. Yet, the Blog is more about sanctification rather than salvation.Salvation does provide for us justification, which makes us right in the sight of God, nevertheless we need to accept the responsibility of walking in the spirit.The of putting all the old man and putting on the new man, which is created in righteousness and true holiness should be desire of every true child of God. If everything the Christian needed was received at salvation through the cross of Christ we would have no need of scriptures that talk about the resurection and walking in the newness of life in Christ Jesus. This requires discipleship and self-denial. We need also remember, that those who are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God! Salvation is a beginning to a life as a new creature that shall continue in allowing Him, Jesus Christ, that began a good work to complete the work unto the end. Thank for the thought provoking comment, it’s exceptional!

      • I will as I often do, refer to my good friend David, as in David and Goliath and the same David and Bathsheba. Both bishop and whoever posted this comment present compelling arguments on salvation vs. sanctification. There are those i think that from the moment of salvation are delivered from so much. But there are those that it is truly a process of dying daily. Was anyone in scripture made perfect at the point of salvation? I don’t recall anyone, ever in scripture being conformed to perfection at salvation. All of them had struggles and short comings, even after they were saved. Peter, Paul, James, Moses, Abraham, Jonah,(I could list about everyone in the bible save one person) pretty much everyone still struggled with the flesh in some way, right???

        Scripture says that no man can call Him lord except by the Holy Spirit. So if I have confessed him with my mouth because I believed in my heart, that belief can only according to scripture come by the Holy Spirit. That means He picked me. And if in fact He picked me, then He will complete what He started. And if I stumble, if I screw up from time to time, He is still faithful. I believe and preach sanctification, but I don’t see any example in scripture where someone was perfect in the flesh from the point of salvation.

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