Why Bother with Discipline?
Discipline is not a fun word. It's not fun to talk about or implement and yet, if you are a parent, you may find this has become your unofficial part-time job. Does anyone else feel that they overcome one struggle at home only to be faced with a new pressing issue?!? We see these undesirable behaviors pouring out of our children and if we are wise we will recognize they are symptoms of deeper heart issues. And let's be honest, we recognize those very same sins lurking in the corners of our own hearts as well. We don't like it, but we ALL need discipline.
We know we are supposed to instruct our children in God's laws and life-giving ways and to model a life of discipline - a life of discipleship - but it is easy to grow weary in this task. It is so tempting at the end of a long day to pretend you didn't hear that disrespectful comment or to shrug off the small disobedience choosing instead to stay on the couch. (I'm not judging...I've been there...) And you might even wonder, "Why bother with discipline? It seems like all my words go in one ear and out the other so why keep talking?" Or maybe you can justify a lack of corrective action by saying, "What's done is done. We'll try again tomorrow." Again...I've been there.
So why bother with discipline? This is why...
"For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore, lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed." Hebrews 12:11-12
Do you see? Discipline is not fun in the moment BUT LATER it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it! And don't you love the visual of the lame limb needing to be reset? We don't want our kiddos walking around out of joint...this only leads to further injury. Webster's dictionary defines discipline as "training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character."
We all get "out of joint" and must repent and be realigned with God's ways. This is an ongoing part of the Christian life and we get the great, and sometimes heavy, responsibility of training our children in this gospel pattern. We must be faithful to correct our children so that what is "lame" will not be permanently set that way, but rather, be healed. And, as always, these truths that the Lord brings out of His word must first be applied to our own hearts before we lay them on our children. I have certainly felt convicted and encouraged by these verses!
Sweet parents with drooping arms and tired knees...be strengthened in the Lord today! Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)