And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong
Discipline. Agh! It seems like this should be a four letter word! But in all reality it is one of the keys to receiving all that God has for us. Let’s think a little bit deeper about discipline. When you discipline your child for running after a ball that has rolled into the street, you do it because you love them and want them alive, not because you want to ruin their fun. You have rules about not snacking right before supper because you want them to be hungry enough to eat a nutritious well balanced meal. You discipline your child when they hit their sibling because you want them to learn to control their anger so that they can have healthy adult interactions. (I’m pretty sure you could get fired from your job for hitting your boss!) You allow your child to feel the consequences of procrastinating their homework when they have to sit inside and work while their siblings and friends play a game of baseball in the back yard so that they can learn time management and responsibility. These examples plus hundreds of others could be shared to remind us of the intent of discipline in the life of your children.
In the same way, discipline is necessary for us to receive peace and to enjoy a bountiful harvest. As you continue to seek after God and learn His ways He will gently show you different areas of your life that you need to let go of or change. When we allow God to work in our lives He is able to lift those weights that are slowing us down and heal those wounds that cause us to lash out in harmful ways.
Now a word of caution as you start to allow God to lovingly discipline you. Satan will try to attack you with feelings of guilt and condemnation. These feelings are not from The Lord. God never guilts you into anything. His discipline leads you to repentance and change. Think about the fruit that is coming out of your feelings. If it is causing you to feel defeated and depressed it is not from God. If it is burden lifting and restoring your hope and joy it is from God. Don’t confuse the two!
The second thing to watch out for is feelings of failure. When you are working on a certain area of your life such as self-control, anger or anxiety, you will get plenty of opportunities to put your newly-found knowledge into practice. Sometimes it might feel like you are taking one step forward to then take three steps back. Again, this is one of Satan’s tricks to get you to feel defeated and cause you to throw in the towel thinking nothing will ever change. In these moments read Philippians 3:16. Here it is in context;
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.
Don’t let Satan steal the truths that have been spoken into your life. Don’t let Him steal the lessons you have learned and the progress you have made. Hold fast to those, claim them and continue to allow God to move and build on your new foundation.
As you spend time with God, He will show you areas in your life that still need work. Be ready, be prepared, and be willing to listen to His leading. As you learn about yourself and work on you, He will transform you into a more loving, peaceful, and effective woman. We need to renew our minds and never forget that discipline is good and necessary. Remember that God’s discipline is not to punish us for the past… it is to train us to make good decisions in the future.
Mile 3 Challenge:
- Title the next page in your journal: Corrective Action. (Discipline still has such a negative connotation. “Corrective Action” is a phrase that my husband uses when he disciplines his employees. He is trying to help them correct their future actions, rather than punishing them for their past actions. God is doing the same thing to us.)
- Look back to page 2, to your list of weights. Ask God whether you need any discipline to help you with any of them. (I’m sure God has already been pointing something out to you before this study began). Pick one, just the one that God is leading you to start on and write it on today’s journal page.
- Then write down what feeling this situation is causing you. Next write out the opposite of that feeling. One of your goals will be to work towards this opposite feeling and allow it to overrule your natural reaction.
- Spend some time in prayer asking God how to walk in wisdom in this situation. How are you to respond, think and act? Explore different ideas, thoughts or actions that you need to let go of and turn over to Him to take care of.
- This week I want you to try to spend 5 minutes each day asking God to show you the truth in this specific situation. Write down anything that comes to mind that you need to work on or let go. Then write down an action plan for how you are going to put these new truths into action and make them a part of your life.
You can do it! I have faith in you!!