The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians says, “I beat my body and make it my slave.” Paul wasn’t physically whipping himself, but he was doing things to help himself exercise self-control over the natural tendencies of his flesh. Our flesh is prone to laziness, overeating, and addiction to a whole host of things. Our flesh hates to read the Bible, to pray, to worship God, and to give our money to serve God
The way I exercise self-control over my flesh is to set goals, make commitments, establish routines, and establish accountability in my life.
My flesh hates to pray but prayer is very important in my relationship with God and is the most important discipline in my life to experience the blessings of God in my life. So to overcome my flesh and make it submissive to me I set goals, I read the goals everyday and share them with other guys to hold me accountable. People often ask me for suggestions on goals they can set for themselves. A prayer package I often give is “one hour of corporate prayer each week preferably with others in our church, 15 minutes of devoted private prayer every day using a prayer notebook, and three times each week praying with your spouse.” It isn’t a magical amount, but it is an amount that makes a difference in those around you and in your own life. Without the commitments and goals in our life we naturally drift away from the spiritual disciplines to increased television viewing and other things that have no real benefit in our life.
Nobody is naturally self-controlled; you have to train yourself to be self-controlled like an athlete trains himself. The best tool there is to help us in this training process is goals. What is your Bible reading goal? What is your prayer goal? You don’t have any, you say, well, my guess is you don’t pray much and you don’t read the Bible much.