Someone once said, “The secret of discipline is motivation. When a man is sufficiently motivated, discipline will take care of itself.”
In the Christian faith, this certainly rings true. To accomplish what God has in store for us, we need the motivation and discipline to get there. Without these, there is no desire and, without desire, there is no want. Without want there is no goal and with no goal in mind, there is nothing but idleness.
We hear the word, “discipline” and it takes us back to all those times in life we did something wrong and paid the price for it. At the time, it was often hard to take. But, as we have aged we look back and we see that it has often helped to shape us in positive ways. The Bible speaks of this in Hebrews 12:11, “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.”
Because we have been disciplined, we have become disciplined. In other words, because we have been corrected for past wrongs, we have learned to correct and adjust our ways as we are greeted with opportunities in life.
Proverbs 12:1 tells us that “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge.” He says this because he knows that, to obtain knowledge, one must learn from their mistakes. When we stick our hand in the fire, we are disciplined with a burn, but we also learn not to stick our hand in the fire and that gives us the discipline to avoid the temptation to do so again. In this way we learn to “Discipline (our) body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others (We ourselves) should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).
Many parents know the benefits of discipline because they have endured it. They have seen the benefits in their own lives, so they have passed the value of proper discipline onto their children. Because of this, their children have learned the lessons that their parents before them had learned and are now ready to pass on those values to their own children.
There are others who go out of their way not to discipline their children in the same way, choosing rather to forgo sternness with friendship and constant positive reinforcement. This, in itself, is not bad at all but can be a detriment if not mixed with reality.
Everyone gets a trophy, grades become obsolete, no one fails and everyone gets the prize. Eventually this creates a society that has a harder time dealing with failure. They see discipline as a negative when God created discipline to be a sign of love. “And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by Him. For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:5-6).
When discipline is seen only in a negative light, the lessons become harder to learn because the motivation for change has been altered. Our goals become focused on avoiding discipline, not on accepting the discipline for what it is, an instrument for positive change (if done for that purpose of course).
God disciplines us because He loves us, and He wants us to change the worldly ways we have learned that separate us from His goodness and grace. As our Father in heaven, He takes His role seriously and is intent on showing us right from wrong.
Going on from our latest Bible verse quoted earlier in Hebrews 12 it says, “It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 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 12:7-10).
Many of the problems we face today are because we have lacked discipline both in our rebuke and in practice. We have forgotten that there is only one truth and that righteousness and mercy are keys to life. May God grant us His discipline when we have gone astray so that we might learn from our shortcomings and gain insight into will for us. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us enough to show us, through discipline, the errors of our ways. Help us to accept that discipline so that we might gain holiness. Amen.