Discipline

* Guidelines for discipline

At first glance these verses appear irrelevant today.  But a closer look reveals some important principles about discipline.  Are you responsible for the discipline of a child, a student, or an employee?  Three important points will help you carry out your responsibility: (1) Let the punishment follow quickly after the offense; (2) let the degree of punishment reflect the seriousness of the offense; and (3) don’t overdo the punishment.  Discipline that is swift, just, and restrained makes its point while preserving the dignity of the offender.  (NLT)

Deuteronomy 25:1-3 – “Suppose two people take a dispute to court, and the judges declare that one is right and the other is wrong.  If the person in the wrong is sentenced to be flogged, the judge will command him to lie down and be beaten in his presence with the number of lashes appropriate to the crime.  No more than forty lashes may ever be given; more than forty lashes would publicly humiliate your neighbor.

* Discipline important to character development

The people of the tribe of Gad received the best of the new land because they obeyed God by punishing Israel’s wicked enemies.  Punishment is unpleasant for both the giver and the receiver, but it is a necessary part of growth.  If you are in position that sometimes requires you to correct others, don’t hold back from fulfilling your task.  Understand that realistic discipline is important to character development.  Always strive to be both just and merciful, keeping in mind the best interests of the person who must receive the punishment. (NLT)

Deuteronomy 33:20-21 – Moses said this about the tribe of Gad: “Blessed is the one who enlarges Gad’s territory!  Gad is poised there like a lion to tear off an arm or a head.  The people of Gad took the best land for themselves; a leader’s share was assigned to them.  When the leaders of the people were assembled, they carried out the Lord’s justice and obeyed his regulations for Israel.”

* Let discipline turn you toward God, not away

Moses was the only person who ever spoke with God face to face.  He was called Israel’s greatest prophet.  Yet even this great man was not allowed to enter the  Promised Land because he disobeyed God.  No matter how good we are or how much we’ve done for God, we sometimes disobey him.  The result of our disobedience is that we will be disciplined.  God disciplined Moses severely but still called him his friend.  When you experience the sting of God’s discipline, respond as Moses did.  Don’t turn away in anger, embarrassment, or resentment.  Instead, turn toward God with love, openness, and a desire to do better. (NLT)

Deuteronomy 34:4,10 – Then the Lord said to Moses, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I told them I would give it to their descendants.  I have now allowed you to see it, but you will not enter the land.”

There has never been another prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.

* Undisciplined children lack of self-discipline

Because David had never interfered by opposing or even questioning his son, Adonijah did not know  how to work within limits.  The result was that he always wanted his own way, regardless of how it affected others.  Adonijah did whatever he wanted and p aid no respect to God’s wishes.  An undisciplined child may look cute to his or her parents, but an undisciplined adult destroys himself and others.  As you set limits for your children, you make it possible for them to develop the self-restraint they will need in order to control themselves later.  Discipline your children carefully while they are young, so that they will grow into self-disciplined adults. (NLT)

1 Kings 1:6 – Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, “What are you doing?”  Adonijah was a very handsome man and had been born next after Absalom.

* – It is not easy for a loving parent to discipline a child, but it is necessary.  The greatest responsibility that God gives parents is the nurture and guidance of their children.  Lack of discipline puts parents’ love in question because it shows a lack of concern for the character development of their children.  Disciplining children averts long-range disaster.  Without correction, children grow up with no clear understanding of right and wrong and with little direction to their lives.  Don’t be afraid to discipline your children.  It is an act of love.  Remember, however, that your efforts cannot make your children wise; they can only encourage your children to seek God’s wisdom above all else!  (NLT)

Proverbs 13:24 – If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don’t love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them.

* Ask God to temper his discipline with mercy

As a child might cry to his father, so David cried to God.  David was not saying, “Don’t punish me,” but, “Don’t punish me while you are angry.”  He acknowledged that he deserved to be punished, but he asked that God temper his discipline with mercy.  Like children, we are free to ask for mercy, but we should not deny that we deserve punishment. (NLT)

Psalm 38:1 – O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger!  Don’t discipline me in your rage!

* Self-discipline developed through trials

Just as fire purifies silver in the smelting process, trials refine our character.  They bring us a new and deeper wisdom, helping us discern truth from falsehood and giving us the discipline to do what we know is right.  Above all, these trials help us realize that life is a gift from God to be cherished, not a right to be taken for granted. (NLT)

Psalm 66:10-12 – You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver melted in a crucible.  You captured us in your net and laid the burden of slavery on our backs.  You sent troops to ride across our broken bodies.  We went through fire and flood.  But you brought us to a place of great abundance.

* Discipline helps one discern right from wrong

Discipline means “to teach and to train.”  Discipline sounds negative to many people because some disciplinarians are not loving.  God, however, is the source of all love.  He doesn’t punish us because he enjoys inflicting pain but because he is deeply concerned about our development.  He knows that in order to become morally strong and good, we must learn the difference between right and wrong.  His loving discipline enables us to do that. (NLT)

Proverbs 3:11-12 – 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.

Consistency in discipline

Parents of young children often weary of disciplining them.  They feel like all they do is nag, scold, and punish.  When you’re tempted to give up and let your children do what they want, or when you wonder if you’ve ruined every chance for a loving relationship with them, remember that kind, firm correction helps them learn, and learning makes them wise.  Consistent, loving discipline will ultimately teach them to discipline themselves.  (NLT)

Proverbs 29:15 – To discipline and reprimand a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.

Don’t discipline out of anger

The purpose of parental discipline is to help children grow, not to exasperate and provoke them to anger or discouragement.  Parenting is not easy–it takes lots of patience to raise children in a loving, Christ-honoring manner.  But frustration and anger should not be causes for discipline.  Instead, parents should act in love, treating their children as Jesus treats the people he loves.  This is vital to children’s development and to their understanding of what Christ is like.  (NLT)

Ephesians 6:4 – And now a word to you fathers.  Don’t make your children angry by the way you treat them.  Rather, bring then up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord.

* God’s discipline is a sign of his love

Who loves his child more–the father who allows the child to do what will harm him, or the one who corrects, trains, and even punishes the child to help him learn what is right?  It’s never pleasant to be corrected and disciplined by God, but his discipline is a sign of his deep love for us.  When God corrects you, see it as proof of his love, and ask him what he is trying to teach you. (NLT)

 * Our various responses to discipline

We may respond to discipline in several ways: (1) We can accept it with resignation; (2) we can accept it with self-pity, thinking we really don’t deserve it; (3) we can be angry and resentful toward God; or (4) We can accept it gratefully, as the appropriate response we owe a loving Father. (NLT)

Hebrews 12:5-11 – And have you entirely forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you, his children?  He said, “My child, don’t ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don’t be discouraged when he corrects you.  For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes those he accepts as his children.”  As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children.  Whoever heard of a child who was never disciplined?  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 after all.  Since we respect our earthly fathers who disciplined us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to the discipline of our heavenly Father 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 right and good for us because it means we will share in his holiness.  No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening–it is painful!  But afterward there will be quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

* God may discipline you to wake you from complacency

God would discipline this lukewarm church unless it turned from its indifference toward him.  God’s purpose in discipline is not to punish but to bring people back to him.  Are you lukewarm in your devotion to God?  God may discipline you to help you out of your uncaring attitude, but he uses only loving discipline.  You can avoid God’s discipline by drawing near to him again through confession, service, worship, and studying his Word.  Just as the spark of love can be rekindled in marriage, so the Holy Spirit can reignite our zeal for God when we allow him to work in our heart. (NLT)

Revelations 3:19 – [Jesus said] “I am the one who corrects and disciplines everyone I love.  Be diligent and turn from you indifference.”

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