By Tyson Thorne

January 9, 2014

SelfDiscipline large

“Be keenly aware that just as a parent disciplines his child, the Lord your God disciplines you. 8:6 So you must keep his commandments, live according to his standards, and revere him.” — Deuteronomy 8.5 & .6

All of this points us in a singular direction. If we wish to avoid God’s disciplining of us, and even the discipline of parents or fellow brothers in the faith, then we must be obedient. This is the third and final aspect of discipline: self-discipline.

A few weeks ago after a Sunday service a retiring couple talked to me about joining the church. I hadn’t met the husband before, and I asked where he had previously attended. A little sadly, he replied, “the Municipal Golf Course.” Sometimes it requires great self-discipline to spend one day a week in worship of the living God!

It is important for believer’s to be self-disciplined. Examine with me First Peter 1.13–.16:

Therefore, get your minds ready for action by being fully sober, and set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. Like obedient children, do not comply with the evil urges you used to follow in your ignorance, but, like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all of your conduct, for it is written, “You shall be holy, because I am holy.”

Not to misunderstand, even this form of discipline is painful; it can seem at times that we cannot endure temptation to do wrong. But self-discipline is important in the believer’s life, for it can keep him from sin. After all, God promised us that "no temptation has seized you, except that which is common to man." and that "when we are tempted, he will provide a way out," so that we can stand firm. He has provided us with all the tools we need to stand firm.

Some become bitter when they are disciplined; we are not to regard it as an act of cruelty, but as a powerful measure exacted to heal our brokenness.

I remember the life-story of a brilliant young man with a bright future. Unfortunately, although he was brilliant, during his college years he didn’t sense that he was dividing his world into two parts: Church and school. When he returned from his undergraduate work he had to make all he learned for his physics degree mesh with his Christian beliefs, and he solved the problem by accepting the theory of Theistic-Evolution, wherein God started the process of life, and then left it to evolve as it would. The church disciplined him; gently at first, and the firmer he gripped his theory the harsher they disciplined him. Finally, exercising the authority given them in Matthew 18, they expelled him and treated him as an unbeliever. He became embittered, left the church, and taught against Christianity for years. He later became a physics teacher in a public school in my home state of Colorado. That is until a group of believing students began passing out Christian literature on campus. He told students not to accept the literature "those Christians" were passing out. So angry he became, that it eventually destroyed his mind. One day in the middle of class, while students were working through a formula, he believed himself to be a chicken. He climbed onto his desk, clucked, and stayed that way until he was taken away. All this because he chose to go his own way rather than accept discipline. The path he chose lead to his destruction, as does any path other than the one God sets us on.

Remember, family discipline is important for the purpose of accountability in our lives; the discipline of the Lord stimulates us to holiness and reminds us that we are His children; and that personal discipline is required if we are ever to lead mature Christian lives. With this in mind, let us live the week to come — and the rest of our lives— in the joy of knowing that whatever pain we must endure it is for our benefit.

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