When we hear the word, Discipline, we imagine punishment of some kind, the loss of freedom or privileges. We believe that discipline is something for children; somehow we believe as adults that discipline does not apply to us. We forget that we are the children of God, and as his children he will discipline us.
Discipline is vital to our spiritual growth. Proverbs says, “My child, don’t ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don’t be discouraged when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:11-12 NLT).
Sometimes we get confused between spiritual warfare and discipline. I have gotten fooled by this many times. What I think is spiritual warfare, is actually the Lord correcting me. How can that be? It is a level of maturity and the amount of discernment we have developed in our spiritual lives. It shows how closely we are connected to the Lord and hearing his voice.
We are told to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), that is a vital command; that sustains our moment by moment walk with the Lord. If we pray only occasionally or on Sunday mornings, we miss out. We still have the tendency to wonder off in our own wills and ways, when the loving discipline of the Lord seeks us out and brings us back.
So how do we know the difference between spiritual warfare and discipline? The enemy's whole game plan is to divide and conquer. With that in mind, is there anything that you are not willing to talk to the Lord about? Have other things gotten in the way of your spending time with the Lord? The enemy will divert your attention away from God and cause you to focus on all the issues around you, causing you to worry or take matters into your own hands.
The Lord disciplines totally in love and draws us to a place of confession of sins, removing our fears and replacing them with courage, love and faith. We are free only in him. Once we have tasted his freedom and love, nothing in this world can ever satisfy us.
The writer of Hebrews put it this way, “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening-it is painful! But afterward there will be a quite harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way” (Hebrews 12:11 NLT). Some interpret that verse to mean punishment, referring to the pain involved, but I believe that the pain described here is the loss of communion with God, our lives become full of unrest and uncertainty.
Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches. Remain in my love and I will remain in you. For you can do nothing apart from me” (John 15:5). That is discipline in a nut shell. Discipline is the training of the heart to seek the Lord and obey him through our decisions in all areas of our lives. If we don’t remain in him, we are as helpless as a boat adrift on the open sea. Our sins expose us to attacks of the enemy, which break our hearts and leave us fearful and hopeless.
The Lord's discipline is always for our good and his glory. It is his loving protection of us even if it causes us discomfort. It is hard admitting we have made a mistake and are walking out of the will of the Lord, but if we stop and take a good assessment of our lives, seek the Holy Spirit for guidance and confess our foolish behavior, we will once again enjoy the sweet fellowship of the Lord and becoming the people he called us to be.
I’ve come to love the discipline of the Lord, to learn to grow in his provision and protection, knowing that he delights in my life and yours!
“For the Lord is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap” (Proverbs 3:26 NLT)
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