The Demise of Discipline


For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.
(Hebrews 12:10 NASB)
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
(Hebrews 12:11 NASB)


Numerous times in the Bible we read about discipline. In this instance there is a comment about parental discipline, the purpose of which is to train up children during a period of time while they are still malleable to become disciplined adults. Then there is a recognition that God, Himself, disciplines us. None of us like that very much and there is much conversation these days about a God of love who really shouldn't punish or discipline. However, it is just because He does love us that He disciplines us. That should be the very reason that parents discipline children, because they love them! When there is discipline in a life, it makes it much easier to be a disciple! Having discipline results in what the author says, "the peaceful fruit of righteousness."


Sadly, we are living in a day and age where there seems to be a decline in discipline. Just yesterday in conversation with my advisor, Dr. Tom Noble, we were discussing the decline of the family and its structures. No longer is there much discipline found in the household. This is often visible around the dinner table -- if there even is one! Seriously, there no longer seems to be a structure to the household. People go into the kitchen, grab food and sit around a television. No discipline, no conversation, no structure or discipline to life. Part of yesterdays discussion revolved around the role of the Church in helping to create a culture of discipline for society. There were morals which were taught in church. There were disciplines such as tithing and helping others that were taught in church. There were cultural traditions within generations of families which centered around the life of the church. Mealtimes were often planned around service times in the church. The Church was the anchor around which the disciplined life was built.

Today there are homes in which the children set the agenda. How often have I heard, "If the kids want to get up on Sunday we'll come to church." Why should the kids decide? Parents -- it takes discipline to get kids up and ready for church on time, but it's our responsibility. Over and over I hear parents say, "My child won't eat that," or "my child doesn't like that." Well, why not? Who's the parent here? New studies have shown that children who have conversations around a dinner table do better in school as compared to children who don't. Parents, it's not up to the children to decide where dinner will be eaten. There are some pretty basic truths in the Bible for us to follow and this is one. We need discipline.

However I must ask, is it really so much the demise of discipline, as it is the demise of the Church? As our society becomes more and more secularized, how do we, as followers of Christ, continue to have Him and the body of Christ -- the Church as a central figure in our lives? It does involve discipline because it goes against the current of society. Having discipline and routines in our homes also goes against the flow of society. However, the author to the Hebrews had it right -- that this discipline is necessary for us to have the "peaceful fruit of righteousness." Therefore, maybe it's time for us to take inventory of our lives. What is the anchor? Is there discipline? If there is not, we will reap chaos in the future. It may be painful for a time, but we must revive discipline and bring it back into our lives.


Lord, give the grace to accept Your discipline. Amen.


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