“Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11 NRSV
All those who enjoy discipline raise your hands? Okay, I realize I can not see raised hands as your reading this, but I would hazard to guess if I could, I would not find many raised hands. Chances are most of us were disciplined by our parents at some point. It's highly probable, most of us were not perfect children. When I was about 16, a friend and I skipped school one afternoon to play pool. The father of my friend, who worked with my dad, received a call from the school about his son and he in turn told my dad who confronted me. In attempting to cover up my misdeed, I told dad his friend must have been mistaken. The next day dad called the school and confirmed that I had indeed been absent that afternoon but the school had not called. When dad came home from work that evening there was a calm discussion and then some good old fashioned discipline was dispensed. Dad explained that I was not being punished for skipping school, but for lying. Later, I realized dad was doing this out of his love for me, and the desire for me to learn from the experience and become a better person.
While often unpleasant, discipline is a necessary part of our life. As children it is how we learn right from wrong. Our laws are meant to correct us when we do something potentially harmful to society. At work we may be offered opportunities for improvement, pretty language for discipline, in our performance reviews. Discipline is not about punishment, although that may be a result, it is an invitation for us to modify our behavior. We have a choice whether we will take this discipline as a growth opportunity, or ignore or worse resent it.
God wants us to lead a life of discipline. His desire for us is to learn from the unpleasant experiences life can bring and use it as an opportunity to grow in our relationship with him. He has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit to aid us when we are disciplined. It is only in responding positively to discipline that we can lead a disciplined and righteous life.
Father God, we give you thanks for the Holy Spirit that dwells in us as a comfort and guide. We know while discipline is uncomfortable, it offers us an opportunity to grow as people and in our relationship with you. We ask for your help in meeting the challenges of this day and may we listen for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we endeavor to live a life of discipline. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
PS: My experiences with pool halls may have subconsciously resulted in The Music Man as my favorite musical. Check out the song “Ya Got Trouble”.