Discipline can seem like a nasty word, but the reality is that it really depends on the definition that you apply to the word.
I’m going to take a look at the word and a few of it’s definitions today. (note: there are a total of 9 – if you are looking at discipline as a noun) When most people think of discipline we go back to our childhood, thinking of times when we were put on restrictions or some other form of punishment by our parents. That takes me to the first definition that I found on dictionary.com
The Bible speaks to this.
Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you. ~ Deuteronomy 8:5
Sometimes, like the good Father that He is, God must discipline us. We misbehave in our spiritual lives just like we misbehave as earthly children. And when we do, we must be disciplined.
The Bible says that discipline from the Lord is a good thing.
For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. ~ Hebrews 12:10
It says that we are blessed for receiving discipline from the Lord and that we should not detest it.
“Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty. ~ Job 5:17
Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? ~ Hebrews 12:9
The next definition speaks to a way of life. Exercise, eating right, time spent in God’s Word.
And of course, the Bible speaks to this too. Paul speaks of the discipline he has and Titus tells us that we should practice discipline.
But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. ~ 1 Corinthians 9:27
…but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. ~ Titus 1:8
And then there is the definition that gives me the most encouragement.
My good friend calls it sanctification. She’s right. The “effect of experience” is what grows us and shapes us into exactly who God intends us to be. He allows us to go through things so that we become more like Him in our Christian walk. I’ll be honest and say that it’s the “adversity” word that I struggle with. I often find myself whining and asking, “why must I go through this or that?” OR “why do I need to learn this lesson?”
The answer is in Hebrews 12:11:
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
I’ve been told for a very long time to “choose joy.” And Hebrews even speaks to this. These times of discipline are not when we will be joyful. We may even be sad. But it sanctifies us! It molds us into the person that God intended when He knit us together in our mother’s womb. We have to trust that the road of discipline He takes us down is for the advancement of His kingdom. I remember when my dad had cancer. He was a wonderful man that loved the Lord and served Him in many ways through his local church and also the Gideon’s International ministry. Dad was just a few years from retiring and no doubt would have wanted to do missions, serve more in the church, etc. But God saw fit for Daddy to leave this earth. I didn’t understand it. At some point during his illness, Dad and I were discussing this and he said something I’ll never forget. He said, “This may not be about me.” He went on to remind me that God has a plan. That He numbers our days. That sometimes we are the only Jesus others see. “What if, “he said, “even one person comes to know the Lord because of my attitude and actions during this illness?”
I’ve thought of that statement my Dad made many times over the years. In our time of transition over the last year, I was asked how I could be at peace when I had no idea where we were going to live or where my husband would be working or what opportunities I would have in a new place to help with our homeschooling?
Time and time again, I had to realize that I was in this time of adversity, because it really was hard, for the glory of God. I have no idea who was impacted by my actions and attitude during that time. What I do know is that God is sowing the “fruit of righteousness” in me. I have a long way to go. But He is good and faithful.
Joy to You!
I’ve not shared my series landing page recently.
I’d be honored if you would check out a few more posts in this series