I remember the night I took this picture. My granddaughter had intentionally disobeyed papa. The discipline wasn’t physically painful, but it sure was on my heart as she would turn and look at me with pleading, tear filled eyes. She thought the world had ended when she was told by papa to get in the corner, as he thinks she can do no wrong usually. He was trying to teach her about obedience, right living if you will. He wanted her to know that when he told her to specifically not do something, and she did it anyway, there would be consequences. It wasn’t that at that moment what she did was wrong in and of itself, but that it was wrong because she was told not too.
So it is with the discipline with God. Some times it is not that what we are doing is implicitly wrong, but that because of what we are doing there will be longer term consequences if we don’t learn the lesson. He is trying to teach us obedience in the big and small, because he wants something better for us.
The point of discipline in our life is right living. Whether it is physical discipline like eating healthy and exercising, or spiritual discipline like reading the Word, praying, or a behavioral change like abstaining from something, it may not be enjoyable as we develop the habit. Spiritual discipline, like physical discipline is painful to the flesh. We have to die to self to submit to discipline. But when we are trained through discipline, there is a peaceful harvest of right living.
If I discipline myself to eat healthy, eventually my taste buds will crave the healthy things. I will have more energy and will lose weight.
If I am trained and disciplined in exercise, my body will be more tone. My muscles will become stronger and I will have more energy. It will take time, but I will lose weight.
These are physical peaceful harvests of right living. The alternative is being overweight, feeling sluggish, craving unhealthy things. In the long run, a shortened life could be the result of living without discipline.
In the spiritual, God wants us to develop healthy habits like worship, reading His Word – the Bible, tithing, and talking with Him continually – prayer. This will help us to mature in our relationship with Him. It will take time, but as we fellowship with Him, he will cause the desires of our heart to change.
As the desires of our hearth change, He will begin to show us other consequences of our actions. This is usually where most of us start to feel the pain. He may call us to stop doing certain things, or start doing other things. He may call us to stop watching certain things on television. Things that may not be implicitly wrong, but is training for a deeper level of sanctification. He may call us to start stepping out of our comfort zone – in our giving, in our communication to others, in ministries.
Many of us want to just walk into our purpose. It is the discipline in the small things that lead us to our larger purpose. Just as the servants we entrusted with a little first (Matthew 25:14-29), so God entrusts us to see how we steward the small areas. He wants to see if we can be disciplined in the small things. This training will bring about the peaceful harvest of right living and greater responsibility and blessings.