From the Pastor’s heart
Discipline is spiritual
Pro_23:13Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Pro_23:14Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. Pro_26:3A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back. Pro_29:15The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
In a modern society, the rod of discipline is disdained. It is considered as cruel and violent. However, in an increasingly violent society, other methods in the use of strong violence is often recorded in domestic disputes along with child abuse, wife bashing, street fighting and the concept of might is right. It seems that correction or adherence to laws and expectations between individuals can often turn violent because of frustration and anger and sheer stupidity on some people’s part. In some confused way society has brought in it’s own morals to bear in certain areas of life while completely ignoring other areas of life that require strong attention.
So, what does God really say about discipline? Heb 12:5And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: Heb 12:6For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Heb 12:7If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? Heb 12:8But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Heb 12:9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? Heb 12:10For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Rev_3:19As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
We understand from these verses that God and Jesus have a correction method that uses discipline. If one is not corrected and allowed to continue on their merry little way, usually, that person ends up in serious problems and often in death and destruction. The Bible often refers to a fool who is like that. He passes on without discretion and dies. The wise however have learnt not to tread where it is unsafe. The wise only became wise because of the rod of discipline. It is noteworthy to understand the many factors that determine discipline in a Christian’s life. They are listed below.
The fear of the Lord - The word of God - The Holy Spirit - The rod of correction - The chastening of the Lord - The rebuke of the Lord - The love of God
Strange as it may seem, God’s love is the prime motivator for His discipline. Rev_3:19As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. In the journey of life, I am sure you too must have come across God’s discipline in one way or another. Often time His silence is a discipline because it leaves us defenceless and we have to depend on many other attributes of God such as His word and faith and trust in His qualities as a Father and God. The discipline always makes us feel alienated from God and we wonder why He is like that toward us. Yet, deep down in our hearts we know we deserve much more than His love and grace for the sins we have committed. In spite of this, in His love, He shows grace and mercy which come as a silence till such time we have learnt the lessons of repentance and we are able to restore a right relationship with God.
Many Christians have not understood the love of God and have seen His discipline as being very difficult to handle. We are ready to correct others and bring them into discipline but we ourselves find it difficult to receive correction that disciplines us. The older we get in age, the harder it gets. This is why many fail in their walk with God because they harden themselves in their knowledge and gifts and thing that the blessings of God are the approval of God. What they do not realise is, God is not blessing us because of our abilities or gifts, He is blessings us because He wants to and is showing us grace because He is merciful. Many a child of God has found out in later life that God is not a respecter of persons. He treats all His children the same way irrespective of their status in His kingdom.
In the other vein of thought concerning discipline, we have areas of discipleship. That is; learning the ways of the Lord. This includes the doing of what the Master teaches us. When we learn, we are being disciple. This form of discipline is to make us more than what we are. Then there is the discipline of faith. That is to run the race in a manner that one is disciplined in the face of the length of the race and the warfare that comes to stop you from finishing the race. This requires discipline in battle. Only the soldier who has trained and listened to his instructors and has honed his disciplines will conquer and overcome. The more we go into the school of discipline with the Holy Spirit, the more we will be conquerors.
Tit_3:14And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful. There are many disciplines in life that require us to make an effort in them. The doing and the giving is a discipline. If we learn to discipline ourselves in the doing of good works and giving, we will automatically be fruitful. When we are haphazard and do things because of the ups and downs of life or because of how we feel or what we think of the people we need to help or reach out to, then we will be unfruitful. It is very clear that God has called us to perform great miracles, signs and wonders and also do what is needed on a natural scale to help people. The poor, orphans, widows and helpless all need us to be disciplined about our giving in good works and monetary benefits. The giving of tithes and offering for God’s Church is another discipline. When we train ourselves to give to God out of a willing heart, the rewards are great, even more than one can imagine. The benefits and blessings will overflow and overtake us. Psa_68:19Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.
The discipline of one’s preparations of the heart and fellowship with God is another training that is greatly needed in a Christian’s life. The doing of something like reading the Bible and praying requires one to discipline themselves. Furthermore, they need to act upon what they hear and know to do.
Often time, people do not step out and do what they know to do and so they never see the benefit of the discipline they have been practising in reading of the word and praying. The discipline always has a doing attached to it. The athlete disciplines himself in training by sacrificing his life for the one sport he is involved in and to perform that discipline in the field. 1Co_9:24Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. Here, Apostle Paul is encouraging us not to look at the numbers involved in the race but the discipline of running to win. Though one may be an athlete, yet, they may not be the best at it. It takes discipline to become the best and win the prize. It is in this particular area that many sit back on their achievements and do not want to go to the maximum level of discipline because the pain threshold is higher.
This is where sacrifice comes into discipline. Php 2:8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Jesus carried out a lot of disciplines on earth and even made many disciples but there came a day when what He came for was staring at Him in the face.
The cross was His final discipline. It says that He humbled Himself and became obedient even to the cross. When did He do that? Was it on the day He was faced with the cross? I believe, He had been disciplining Himself from the beginning by taking all the insults hurled at Him, preaching and behaving in a manner that displayed humility and living this life on earth with the full intention of going to the cross. He lived 33 years on this earth and did ministry for about 3 1/2years. This tells me that 30 years of His preceding life before ministry was spent in preparation and discipline and the 3 1/2 years was spent in a different form of discipline when He went away and prayed to fulfil His ministry. At no time did He depend on Himself but depended on His Father and took the harsh discipline of His Father upon Himself in order to win the prize. That prize is you and me. Hallelujah!
DISCIPLINE IS STAMINA & STRENGTH IN BATTLE
Lots of love