I want you to imagine a world without discipline. A world where sin runs rampant (much like ours), and is left unpunished. A world where thieves steal, murderers kill, rapists rape, and drugs are sold —all without any fear of repercussions. A world where man is literally allowed to do whatever he pleases. Can you even begin to imagine living in a world such as this?
There is a huge need for discipline and order in society. Without it, our sin-infested world cannot, and will not, function. Period. Consider thievery, for example. If there were no repercussions (discipline) for thievery, every economy around the world would crumble (I mean, why buy something if you can get it for free?). If the economies around the world were to crumble, a huge portion of the world’s population would be thrust from their jobs, which would in turn leave millions of people without the necessary funds to feed themselves and/or their families. This would only increase the rate of theft (and violence, for that matter). I’m willing to bet my bottom dollar that within a matter of weeks, our world would be in a state of anarchy. And this is just theft… Take away the punishments for murder and rape and the state of our world gets even worse. The bottom line? Discipline holds our world together, and without it, we’re in some serious doo doo…
Interestingly enough, just as discipline is necessary for our world to function effectively, it is also necessary for the development of effective and godly people. I think we can all agree that a child that hasn’t been disciplined adequately rarely lives up to its full potential, both as a child and when it grows older. Because the child is used to getting anything and everything he wants, he has no idea how to cope when, for whatever reason, that is no longer possible. The Bible is clear that it is the responsibility of Christian parents to instill in their children the ability to respond to unwelcome changes in life, in a way that is pleasing and acceptable to the Lord. In Proverbs 13:24b, we read: “Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.” (NLT)
If it is the responsibility of our earthly parents to help us grow into people that are pleasing and acceptable to the Lord, doesn’t it make sense that, as Christians, the same is the case for our Heavenly Father? As a perfect human being, God cannot tolerate sin/wrongdoing. He will not tolerate sin/wrongdoing. And just like with our parents, his discipline is a sign of his love. A quick search on Google reveals countless verses that make this crystal clear. Let’s take a look.
“Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you. Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him.” (Deuteronomy 8:5-6, NIV)
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” (Hebrews 12:5b-6, NIV)
Let’s be honest. Discipline isn’t fun, whether it comes from our parents, our government, or our God. But as believers, we need to make sure that we identify the discipline in our lives as soon as possible and respond to it in a godly manner. We need to turn from our ways, and we need to seek repentance. Trust me, I know it isn’t easy. ‘Fessing up to wrongdoing in my life and apologizing to the person I hurt through my actions might just be my least favorite thing on this planet. I hate it. There are few things, if any, that I find harder. Nonetheless, it is my responsibility when I am in the wrong, and it is yours. Don’t be stubborn. Don’t ignore God’s discipline for the sake of your pride… because I can guarantee you, in a war with God, you’re not going to come out on top. God loves us so much that he is willing to do anything if it means bringing us back to him. If he has to break you of your pride by taking everything away from you, he will. Don’t push him to that point.
“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 12:11, NIV)