Discipline – training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character
What is training? It’s learning. Sometimes by example. Sometimes the hard way. Why do we learn? To live the best life we may. We also learn in order to teach others and raise them up by sharing what has worked and not worked for us. Following up on last Sunday’s “More and More Like Jesus” message AND Mary Poppins’ message last Sunday at Sprucetown…love doesn’t stop at accepting others as they are. That’s an excellent beginning, but it’s just that. A beginning, not an ending. Loving our neighbor means telling the truth in a way that communicates our desire to help them become all they can be.
How we speak is sometimes more important than what we say because our tone and attitude communicates whether we are offering a gift of wisdom or a holier than thou punch. Jesus teaches us to be helpful rather than hurtful. The delivery matters because gifts must be received in order to be put to use. Hurt is resisted and NEVER EVER EVER put to use for our good because by nature, hurt is not help. Let me be crystal clear. You will not offend someone into wholeness. Truth can be hard to hear, because the difficulty doesn’t make the truth less true. It makes our conviction “sting” more. But we can receive truth in love and benefit from it when it is applied with loving intention.
A word about new age bullying… When you wonder why applying the same process of name calling and insulting people over and over again in new and exciting ways doesn’t get the target to change their mind and do what you want, remember that bullying comes from an ugly heart, not loving kindness. Bullying is evil, not godly. Jesus didn’t bully anyone. Right? Be like Jesus.
One thing you can’t deny about the parable of the Good Samaritan is that he left the wounded man better than he found him. He picked him up and that’s an investment in his future. When we share the truth in love with our family, friends, church family and even strangers, we are to be loving them as God loves us. Always tell the truth. Truth is spelled out in scripture. Christians learn truth and put it into practice by studying scripture. So if the only books a Christian reads are new age books that quote scripture, they’re in huge trouble because there are so many that take them out of context and the new believer, without actual scripture knowledge, believes them rather than opening the book that offer the truth, the whole truth and NOTHING but the truth. This is why the Penns Valley Charge churches are providing free Bibles. We need a revival of reading God’s word so we can learn without the world getting into the mix.
God teaches us through His Word. Why? The Apostle Paul’s inspired letter in Hebrews explains it best…
“In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children?My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either.It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects.God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off big-time, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.” – Hebrews 12:5-11
Getting older and maturing are different things. We can get older sitting in a church every week all our lives and never mature in our Christian faith. Maturity in your relationship with God requires saturation in the things of God starting with His Word and that offers a peace that surpasses all understanding to those less mature who witness it. Are you committed to maturing in your relationship with God?