Monday, July 28, 2008

Why do many Christians fear or avoid discipline?

Why is discipline seen as a negative or as punishment for being disobedient?

How have you seen it and why?

Read Hebrews chapter 12,

A paraphrase, Discipline is our catalog or database for what God is doing and what He can do in our lives. It is a vehicle to the quality and result of our spiritual formation. This is not about being punished for being disobedient; rather, it is a call to be trained like an athlete being made ready for the game or as a child receiving nurture and correction to be a better person and to prepare for adulthood as a person and Christian. We can’t enter the race of life and faith without preparation through diligence, obedience, and submission. This is something we are to embrace and love, not fear or try to get out of. Our goal is to know and then serve Christ; it takes honest, hard work. Remember that God nurtures and encourages us and we should also welcome His discipline, for that helps us too. Just as a loving parent corrects a child and helps him or her on the path for betterment and future, so God does with us. Even though we do not like the discipline, it is best for us. Therefore, we have no reason to feel discouraged; rather, we can endure for His glory. So get a grip on life and faith—with your main grip on Christ as Lord. He will help you go in the right way—His way—and not flounder.

A key word,

Discipline. Means moral instruction, not corporal punishment. Here, it means education and the learning we gain by corrective and instructive training to know and grow. This comes from Christ and from what we have before us, as we partake of His Word so we can contextualize it to our lives to grow and mature. God’s discipline is always temporary to get us lined up to what is important. If he did not do this, we would certainly fall into a worse situation. God’s good discipline is always done in love; to those who are wicked and refuse to repent, the discipline is severe and eternal.

This is a warning about slacking off and not putting in the effort to do what God has called or what is right. This is apathy and laziness and God hates this attitude of I don't care! It shows that we care nothing about others, ministry, spiritual growth, or what God wants of us. It is the misconception or misapplication of the magnitude of His incredible gifts and His grace to us. And, as a result, we become lukewarm, disinterested, and non-committal! This is not about rest and vacations or taking a break. This is a life of purposeless and laziness that leads to rebellion and produces no faith, fruit, or righteousness (Isa. 13:7; 35:3-4; Jer. 47:3; 50:43; Ezek. 7: 17; 21:7; Hosea 13:6; Zeph. 3:16; Matt. 13:25-26; Rom. 13; Eph. 1:13-14; Heb. 3:13; James 5:11-20; 1 John 4: 7-8; Rev. 3:1-6; 14-18).

What does it mean to you that you are not alone in this journey of faith and life?

How can you better welcome both God’s nurture and discipline?

What do you need to do better in regard to your honest, hard work of faith and discipline?


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