As I have aged, I realized the great blessing of being disciplined. When younger, the word discipline was a cruel one we tried to avoid. No one likes discipline. We do not usually request or desire discipline. Discipline is punishing someone to correct poor behavior or disobedience. Discipline trains people to be obedient people.
The Bible tells us that anyone God disciplines is “blessed” or “joyful.” The world looks at the discipline of the Lord as wrath and usually describe it as harsh and unreasonable. As a child of God, hopefully you understand that God disciplines us as a father disciplines a child. It is for our own good. Discipline helps us to grow. Discipline protects and teaches us. Discipline is a blessing.
Today, thank the Lord for His instruction. Thank Him for His discipline. Thank Him for seeking the best for you. Thank Him for His love. Praise Him for He alone is good, and He alone deserves all honor, glory, and praise. I pray that you are joyfully disciplined.
“Joyful are those you discipline, LORD, those you teach with your instructions.” – Psalm 94:12 [NLT]
“Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the LORD your God disciplines you for your own good. So obey the commands of the LORD your God by walking in His ways and fearing Him.” – Deuteronomy 8:5-6 [NLT]
Proverbs 10:17 says, “Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray” (ESV). Another translation speaks about the one who “heeds discipline” as opposed to the one who “ignores correction.” This verse basically says two things: The person who accepts discipline (correction) will be on the path of life. The person who fights again correction will go astray. Some translations even mention these people leading others astray as well.
No one likes to be told they are doing something wrong. No one likes to face the music and accept correction. But we need to do this to develop into who God created us to be—to grow in character and wisdom. Only with correction are we able to confront our faults and change. Only with discipline are we able to have the opportunity for more, not only for our own lives but to lead by example for others as well.
Many times we like to avoid discipline. From childhood on up, it is a way of life for us. Oftentimes we grumble when our parents punish us. We throw a fit when we lose privileges. We get upset when we are punished. Proverbs 12:1 says, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid” (NIV). That sounds kind of harsh. If we hate correction (discipline) we are stupid? The actual word for stupid means brutish and it relates to the word burn or kindle. It represents a life that has no opportunity to be more, a life that can never become as originally designed. My friends, God’s discipline is helpful. God’s discipline should be welcomed and praised. God’s discipline helps us to continue on the path to life. God’s discipline helps us to lead a godly life to point others to Jesus rather than leading astray. God’s discipline refines us.
There was a man and his son standing in line with a group of other people. A lady standing next to the man began talking to the man with typical small talk. The man’s son walked up to the woman he did not know and he smacked the woman. The man immediately grabbed the boy and smacked him again and again. He then said he did not know how his boy learns this behavior because he surely did not learn it from him.
I do not want to get into a discipline discussion. The Bible tells us not to spare the rod. Children need discipline. But I think it is important to make note of our actions because our children learn by example. The boy was not told to apologize. The boy was not told why what he did was wrong. He was not taught a right way to handle the situation. He was hit and then hit again. Perhaps the first hit wasn’t hard enough so it needed to be reinforced.
Today I challenge you to be an example of what you want your children to follow. When they need discipline, discipline them. But be mindful that they will learn from your example. You might not even realize what you are teaching them. The actions speak so much louder than the words. Today’s verse can be seen as one for leaders, for parents, and for anyone. A good example speaks volumes.
“Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.” – 1 Peter 5:3 [NLT]
The other day I was asked to keep the fruit snacks out of the bag as I processed an order. I was sure to comply with the request but it was not good enough. The fruit snacks I kept back were for the one child; however, the other child also had a box of fruit snacks. Something very trivial to me became a very loud scene.
The children had to have their own boxes of fruit snacks. A big tantrum proceeded—where there was no respect, no discipline, nothing but blame passed to me for not keeping both boxes of fruit snacks out. Each box of fruit snacks contains ten pouches. One would assume children would share. I never heard of children both needing to have their own. But what was worse, was that the mother blamed me for an error when the error wasn’t bagged fruit snacks. The children caused such a scene with people shaking their heads at the selfishness, the disrespect, etc.
I don’t want to criticize bad parenting. I mess up often. But today I want to remind you all of something very important. We have an amazing Father—a PERFECT FATHER. He doesn’t give us everything. Some things we aren’t meant to have because it would spoil us. So why do we insist on giving our children everything? There is a reason for discipline. There is a reason for tough love. There is a reason for restrictions and guidelines. When something is spoiled, we say it’s “rotten.” Let us not raise up rotten children. Let us raise up God fearing, respectful, loving children.
“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” – Proverbs 13:24 [NIV]
I do not like the taste of grapefruit; however, I read many articles claiming that it would be beneficial for my health so I decided to start drinking grapefruit juice daily. The problem is that I cannot stand the taste. The first time I had some of the juice, I could not even force it down; it made me sick just tasting a sip of the juice. But I knew that it would be beneficial to me so I continued to drink it daily and still have a glass every morning.
Something that leaves a bitter taste in most mouths is discipline. People don’t generally like to be disciplined. Who wants to get a write-up at work for being late? What child wants to be grounded? Yet discipline can help us to grow as well as to correct our behavior. Discipline is for a reason. Discipline is for our best. Yet we have become a society against discipline. People are able to buy themselves out of a punishment. Children are un-grounded thirty minutes later because a parent “feels bad,” doesn’t want the child to get a complex or doesn’t feel like taking the time to enforce the punishment.
It is no different when it comes to the Lord’s discipline. We do not like discipline. We complain about our circumstances. There are situations we go through that are to help us to be holy as God has called us to be as His children, and we don’t recognize the discipline or don’t wish to accept the discipline. Proverbs 3:11-12 states: “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in” (NIV). God loves you so much that He doesn’t want you to be living in sin. He set you apart for a reason. You can choose to ignore or you can choose to submit. Submission will lead you toward the goodness, to holiness, to life.
Read Psalm 39 and see how David reacts to discipline.
“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
– Hebrews 12: 7-11 [NIV]
I had just dropped my two children off to the bus stop and was walking the dog for our daily adventure. I was enjoying the warm sun and the fresh air. I looked ahead to see another group of children gathered together at a second bus stop. They entered the bus and as the bus pulled away and the group of remaining parents walked away, I noticed a man and a young boy.
The young boy was probably four years old, and he looked at his father with glowing eyes. I was too far away to hear what he said to his dad, but I knew by their actions, that the son had just challenged his dad to a race. And they were off. I could hear the laughter as they both ran down the path. The father was sure to not run at full speed so that he could keep a watchful eye on his son, and keep his son enjoying the race. They ran together till they reached their home. It was such a small moment that I witnessed during my morning trip, but it was such a special time– and probably not only for myself.
God tells us to be mindful of how we interact with other people. When it comes to parenting, we are not supposed to raise our children to be filled with anger and bitterness. We are to raise our children in the Lord. We are to be ready to offer grace and love. We are freely to give and sacrifice. God has gave us such great examples of how we can be a good parent, and a good friend, child, sibling, teacher, etc. We simply need to love like Him, to show grace like Him, to sacrifice like Him. We simply must seek Him.
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
– Ephesians 6:4 [NASB]
At times we slip up and end up having to face the music. I would say it is usually not fun; however, it is a part of life. When you make a mistake, make the wrong decision, go against the rules, etc., there are consequences. This morning my daughter didn’t want to school, because she knew she would have to face the consequences of forgetting her homework at school. She understood she deserved the punishment for missing her homework, but she didn’t want to face the hardship of the punishment.
I have taken notice to a lot of parents who try to keep their children from punishment and discipline. I use the word “discipline” also because punishment is given to those for justice of wrongdoing, but discipline is training that will help correct and perfect a person. I have heard a parent say, “Well I feel bad for him.” It is okay to empathize about the situation, because we have all had to undergo consequences; however, we cannot try to teach them to avoid the consequences. We cannot tell them ways to get around facing the music.
In the Bible, we have a lot of promises of blessing and of love. We can read some verses standing alone and feel like we are basking in the love of the Father and the world is ours. But if the Bible is read closely, there is another side that people like to leave out of the equation. There is punishment and discipline in life. There are consequences. Our consequence for sin is separation from God. We have redemption through the blood of Christ; however, it doesn’t give us a free pass to go on sinning, nor does it change the fact that there are consequences for our actions. We are not perfect either, and so we need discipline to help make us a better person.
Today, maybe you have some consequences that you need to face for your actions. Perhaps you have been putting off being honest because you do not want to face what comes next. Or maybe you are a parent and you try to shield your child from facing punishment. Please know that if you “protect” your child from punishment, then you are saying that their actions are okay. You are teaching the child that they do not deserve the punishment.
My daughter went to school today without her homework. She will be stuck serving time instead of enjoying recess. It will help her to understand that she needs to remember to do her homework. We all make mistakes and misjudgments; we all face the consequences. Nonetheless, if you are honest about your shortcomings and you face the music, you experience personal growth and you become a better person. You may not see it at first, but understand that God loves you and He wants the very best for you.
“For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 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.”
– Hebrews 12:10-11 [NASB]