“WISDOM OF LIVING (2), DISCIPLINE”      By Pastor YAU

Hebrews 12:5-13; Proverbs 3:11-12              September 19, 2004

 

INTRODUCTION:  The ways of exercising discipline may vary, but most societies and cultures value discipline.  The two Chinese characters that translate discipline “Guan-jiao”, mean teaching, training and enforcing supervision.  That includes exercising authority, responsibility, restriction, teaching and obedience.  Many of the athletes and their coaches in the recent Olympic Games certainly understand the value and meaning of discipline.

       Discipline is also important in academic pursuits, career advancement and certainly in training children at home and in school. God has endowed authority and responsibility in those who were given the job of discipline on those under their guidance. Besides rare exceptions, discipline most likely will bring results if it is done and responded properly.

       The Bible has much to say about discipline and the benefits of it. God, as the Father of mankind, is so good in exercising the art of discipline to bring out the best of His people. In His infinite wisdom God applies discipline upon His children to mode them, upgrade them and purify them so He may be able to use them for noble purposes.

 

THE PURPOSES OF DISCIPLE: 

       There are too many examples of discipline, both teachings and actions, in the Bible.  The purpose of each act of discipline is different because the needs of each person are different. In general, three common purposes are found in most cases where discipline is applied.

1)      Discipline is applied for CORRECTION.  Sometimes, this kind of discipline is called punishment, but the purpose is to correct the wrongs done. God, in His total love for man, cannot and will not allow people continue to do wrong. He must apply the brake in the course of life of man to STOP him from going downward on the wrong path. The acts God applied on Adam, King Solomon, King David, the people of Israel and many other cases, give us a clear picture of a righteous God exercising His authority in the form of discipline to bring them back on track. We are all responsible for our words and actions and we deserve the discipline applied on us when we violate the laws God has set.

2)      Discipline is applied for PREVENTION.  This is more difficult for some to understand. Let’s see the Apostle Paul in the New Testament time. Almost all Bible scholars and believers of the Bible will agree that there are few, if any, in the Bible time who might be able to compete with Paul in terms of dedication, fervency, courage and results of his mission endeavor. Instead of crowning Paul with a golden crown for all his achievements, God planted a thorn in his flesh to make him suffer as an act of discipline to prevent him from being proud or boasting. (2 Corinthians 12:7) This is God’s wisdom in restriction.  Different people needs different “thorns” to hold them back from falling into the trap of pride which had led many into total destruction.

3)      Discipline is applied for PURIFICATION. In 2 Timothy 2:21, God says: ”If a man cleanses himself, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy and useful to the Master.” When God has His eyes on some special people for glorious use, He will apply acts of purification to make him clean and holy so He can use him. This is like if you are under the training of a top notch sport coach who will train you to be an Olympian. You must change your life style, get rid of the old and wrong ways of practice and to reframe your mindset, etc. so you may be fit to compete and win at the Olympics.

 

PROPER RESPONSES TO DISCIPLINE:

       Different people respond to discipline in different ways. Some will complaint that it is NOT FAIR. Others will question if God is righteous. Still others will harden his heart and become more stiffened neck and some may become depressed and collapsed. In order to receive the MOST BENEFITS in discipline, our attitude is very important. Here are some suggestions for your choosing.

1)      We need to be reassured of God’s LOVE in time of discipline.  God will never discipline us because He hates us but because He loves us. He loves us like a Father who wants to see the best of His children.

2)      We also need to see His WISDOM in choosing the method of discipline. No one knows what we need more or better than God does. He will always choose the most appropriate means and levels of pressure just right for us to get us straighten up and not broken. Trust Him.

3)      We need to strengthen our feeble arms and weak knees to continue our journey of growth. Never allow Satan to cheat us of quitting God because God will never quit on us. It is never easy to be in discipline, but it is always good for us down the road. We always learn more or better in time of sorrow and weakness. We need to have strong faith that if God puts us in it, He will carry us through it.

 

CONCLUSION:

       Remember the words of King Solomon in Proverbs 15:32, concerning our attitude in time of discipline. “He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding.”  Let us ask God , ”Lord, show me the lessons you want me to learn in all these.”