I read something recently somewhere online about discipline. We’ve skewed this understanding we have into a purely negative meaning, i.e. “we need to discipline” our kids, or ourselves.
We hear it much like a punishment or scolding required for correction of bad behavior.
However, if we slow down for a minute and look at the word, it won’t take long to realize it looks a LOT like “Disciple”. Isn’t that what we’d like to be known as in our faith in Jesus? Aren’t many of us constantly striving to be a better disciple of Christ? Of course! So why the negative, almost painful, understanding of discipline?
Let’s look at the definition of the words:
Yes. That’s what we’re talking about. I want to be a pupil of the doctrines of Jesus. A “follower”. Notice that last line there though. #6 “Obsolete. to teach; train.”. Why is that obsolete now? Why don’t we still mean that?
More of what I’m referring to #1 above is good, “training” not sure I like the rules part, but that’s still accurate. Activity? Exercise? Regimen? Skill? Instruction? Learning? Yes, to all of the above! But for #4 we start to get off track again… “punishment inflicted by way of correction and training”. Why do we consider correction and training “punishment”?
Hopefully I’ve illustrated clearly now what I mean by the confusion and hopefully skewed perspective we’ve given ourselves for the benefits of discipline in our lives. For those of us with kids, I’m pretty certain we don’t believe we’re disciplining them as a punishment, but that we’re trying to train them to behave or act in a way that will benefit them in their lives in the long-term.
As we think about the process of disciplining ourselves in the areas we’re weak or just desire to be stronger in than we are, may we consider it more along the lines of a training and educational session to be better than we are than as a punishment to ourselves. As a I finish that statement though, in my own head I thought, but as we talked about recently in our men’s Bible study this week. As we learn to do the opposite of what our desires our, or that our flesh feels like doing, and instead we exhibit obedience and do what God would prefer us do in these situations… isn’t that a sacrificing of our “fleshly” spirit? But perhaps it’s still not “punishment” it’s just training ourselves in how we want to act in order to become what we strive to become… a better, stronger DISCIPLE!
Definitions of words from Dictionary.com
Great minds think alike: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/church-discipline