October 7, 2020
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. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
When we hear the word “discipline” our first reaction is rarely positive! For a perfectionist like me, when I hear discipline is coming my first thought is, “Oh, no, I’ve blown it!” I must have made a mistake, I must have failed in some way, or made a bad choice. I have somehow strayed from the path of righteousness, and now I must be “disciplined” to pay for it. And, when all is said and done and the discipline is complete, hopefully now I will have learned my lesson and never make that same mistake again.
But that’s not God’s heart at all! Our Heavenly Father is always working to lovingly teach us, mold us and make us more like Himself, and that is a long and challenging job. It takes discipline! And, (much to our chagrin) probably the best way He does that is through our mistakes and our life’s difficulties.
A better word to use instead of “discipline” might be “training,” because discipline is really “training in righteousness.” Discipline is training us to walk in God’s ways, to learn His heart on the matters of this messed-up world, and to please Him in our words and deeds. Discipline is rarely “fun,” but it is so good and necessary for us.
Our current sermon series is “When Kingdoms Collide,” and we’re discussing how God brings the brokenness of this world to collide and conflict with the brokenness within us. In life, these collisions and conflicts expose the things inside us that need training: anger, hatred, bitterness, envy, fears. We don’t often go looking for discipline, nor do we like to think we need it much. But just like everyone needs regular exercise for their entire life, so do we need discipline.
What is your own honest reaction when you think of being “disciplined?” Do you see it as a negative, or do you see it as learning to “share in His holiness?” How might God actually be “disciplining” you today?