January 4, 2009

Thoughts on Discipline, Part 2

To read Part 1, click here.
In my previous post, I explained how discipline can mean a set way to live. I am further expounding on this idea, using Scriptures as a guideline:
Proverbs 1:2 - a disciplined life is a life that follows what is right, just and fair; only a fool would despise discipline
Proverbs 5:23 - the wicked die from lack of discipline
Proverbs 12:1 - whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates discipline is stupid
Proverbs 15:10 - whoever ignores discipline hates himself
These verses in Proverbs deal with the repercussions of not having discipline. According to these verses, those who hate or reject discipline are classified as being fools, stupid. The consequences of those attitudes lead to self-hatred and even death. An easy way to explain this is this example - if I don't follow the discipline for driving my car (keep my eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, buckle my seat belt), I can die. If I reject the discipline for healthy living (eat right, exercise), there are many people who would say that I am stupid for not taking care of myself. My resulting poor quality of life could cause me to hate myself.
Discipline is viewed primarily as a punishment rather than a way of life because people are naturally selfish. We would much rather deal with the consequences at a later date than to do the right thing now, if the right thing requires a disciplined life. Morals, absolutes, and a disciplined life are all regarded as being outdated. Billions of dollars are spent each year to assist us in avoiding the discipline (re: consequences) for our lack of discipline in our lives.
This worldly attitude has even permeated many churches. I dare say that the lack of discipline present in many of the churches is because too many Christians use God's grace as a way to absolve themselves from living a more disciplined life. It is true that God does forgive us when we sin, and God doesn't expect perfection. He knows our frailty better than we know it ourselves. Yet knowing that God will forgive us does not give us the right to abuse His grace. We are commanded to be good stewards of what God has given us. One of the fundamental beliefs of Christianity is that life is a gift from God. More thoughts on this follow in part 3.


  1. "Billions of dollars are spent each year to assist us in avoiding the discipline (re: consequences) for our lack of discipline in our lives."
    That's an interesting statement. What are you referring to in particular? Abortion? Drug rehab?

    "too many Christians use God's grace as a way to absolve themselves from living a more disciplined life."

    Now you're preachin'! I have high standards and I hold other Christians to high standards yet I need to "stop being so legalistic"! That's a code word for "let me do what I want and don't hold me accountable!"

    On the same note, I once knew a guy who turned down a great ministering opportunity because he wouldn't be allowed to dip during the time that he was engaging in said ministry.

  2. Josh: the "billions of dollars" refers to a wide array of things. Yes, I was referring to abortion, but also some issues that stem from other lacks of self control, such as weight loss surgeries (because last I checked, gluttony was a sin), and research to cure various STDs (which admittedly can be transferred other ways, but would not have the epidemic proportions affected if they were not also sexually transmitted).
    There is a fine line between holding other believers accountable and judging. I know the situation you reference regarding the ministry opportunity. I have recently heard several sermons regarding how the world perceives the church as being hypocritical and judgmental. We (the church) do not need to expect the world to follow our moral code. To expect a non-believer to follow our set of rules is along the same lines of dropping someone into a foreign culture and expecting them to immediately follow the social mores. However, we (again, the church) should hold fellow believers accountable, AND we should be allowed to denounce the sins that are present in our society as the sins affect us.
    I have become increasingly concerned with the movement I see within the church to become more accepting. I am afraid that becoming more accepting will result in a degeneration of values within the church, and frankly, I think we have fallen far enough already.
    I realize you were agreeing with me by your comments, I just thought I would expound some more on what you said.

  3. Agreed. How can we expect godliness from the ungodly or the lawfulness from those who stand guilty before God (namely, the unregenerate). But you are right that we should very well expect godliness from the godly, from those who are in Christ.

    More often than not the times I've been accused of "judging" it has come from Christians. What a shame.

    I have seen the same trend of "acceptance". This acceptance usually involves overlooking glaring sin and an obvious need for salvation in a person's life. But bad company corrupts good morals. What will we become if we allow such "degeneration of values within the church" as you stated.

    Good series of posts.


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