“Because the Lord disciplines the one He loves…” Hebrews 12:6
I’m told that discipline is a dirty word nowadays. Some of you will automatically think of spanking or punishing children in some way. Others will think of being required to do something unpleasant because it is a duty.
But discipline does not have to be thought of in that way. Discipline is a tool for transformation. When we punish our children, if we are good parents, our goal is to form the kind of person they are, to shape them morally.
The Bible suggests that God does the same with us. When God gives us a command, He is not trying to take our fun away. God is trying to form the image of Jesus in us. He gives us His Spirit to help us in that transformation. And sometimes He disciplines us.
We often get tired of completing the tasks that we know God wants us to complete. We do not want to study the Bible, or spend time in church or give up something that is fun. But these activities are necessary for the growth of our souls.
Plants that don’t get properly pruned will grow, but they won’t produce the kind of fruit we desire. The buds will be small or incomplete; the fruit won’t be edible. Pruning is often necessary to form the kind of plant we want.
Life gives us the opportunity to do a lot of things that are innocent and fun. But sometimes, to produce the fruit He desires of us, God asks us to give up some of those things. Can you cut off the TV a little sooner and spend time in prayer? Can you give up one evening of time alone to visit and encourage a neighbor? What is the next step of pruning God is calling you to in your Christian life?
This is discipline. Like all discipline, it can hurt a little. But it can also make a big difference in your life as a disciple of Jesus. After all, the One whom we follow certainly knows something about sacrifice.
Love in Christ,
Pastor, Rocky River Baptist Church