Principles of Mental Discipline

by Jack Hyles

Dolph Schays, the baseball player, always looked at a picture of the man who was to guard him, and built up a mental image of his opponent to prepare himself for the game regarding him in such a way as to help him by seeing him as the person trying to keep him from being successful.  He was the leading scorer in the NBA.

There are all kinds of changes in one’s mind – from one mood to another – in the ministry.  A pastor has to be predictable.  He is only allowed one bad mistake, such as messing up at a funeral or wedding.  Many people change preachers like they change barbers.  The preacher is always on trial.  He is allowed little variation.  You have to notice people.  Mental discipline is necessary.

1.  Learn and know what stimulates you and how it does.  You can’t fake joy, compassion, and sorrow. You can’t decide to get mad, but you can know and choose what makes you that way. (Or, happy, sad, etc. You can’t turn on the tears, but you can turn on what turns on the tears.

  • A leader is an atmosphere creator.
  • People will put up with a lot of little mistakes if they feel God’s presence when they are there.
  • Learn these:
  • Know what makes you happy.
  • Know what makes you sad.
  • Know what makes you thankful.
  • Know what makes you worship.
  • (Bobby Knight  and Mike Ditka are not as much of a hothead as we think.  They calculate.  Bobby Knight plans on intimidating the officials.)
  • Most preachers ride the atmosphere, rather than creating it.
  • Analyze your good days, and recreate them.  We think it is chance.  Think of what made your bad days.
  • You plan for success and loaf to failure.
  • It’s not how high you can jump, it is how near you are to the same height all the time.’
  • Figure out the ingredients of success and failure in order to know it happened.

2.  Find what acts as a stimulus for you.

  • –  Certain people.
  • –  Certain thoughts.

I choose my thoughts according to what kind of mood I want to be in. I don’t let thought capture me; I capture them.

3.  Choose your task – decide what you are going to do.

4.  Decide what mood that task needs.

5.  Choose the proper stimulus to get you in that mood.

Just as you have a cupboard full of ingredients to cook with, a preacher ought to have a cupboard full of ingredients to put him in whatever mood he needs to be in to be appropriate.

6.  Give yourself to that stimulus.  Let it do what it will to you.

Dont say, Isnt it good to be a Christian? Say, It sure is good to be a Christian.

7.  Know how to come out of it.

  • Learn what affects you and use it; keep a record.
  • Don’t always use it.  Use it when the crowd needs it, not in small groups with friends.  Be yourself.
  • You know what gets you in loving mood; wouldn’t it be nice if you were interested in your preaching as in your love life?

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