January 6, 2023 (29 days ago)

Almost every time I teach Discover Calvary, I ask the participants what comes to their mind when I say the words, “church discipline.” More often than not someone replies, “Getting kicked out of the church.” The word discipline is used throughout our culture from the classroom to the athletic world. In parenting and in church, the word often has a connotation of punitive measures. In other areas, like school and sports, the word discipline refers to preparation, order and behavior. It’s important to remember that discipline may include punishment but often it does not. The most basic meaning of discipline is “the practice of training people.” This implies that something is not natural and needs training to make it natural. A coach knows that many of her athletes are not “in shape,” so she trains them for endurance by having them run laps around the gym. That’s discipline. The results are witnessed in the game. Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that He trains us. He has more in mind than our destination. He is training us to become a certain kind of people and because that does not come naturally, He trains us to live in harmony with His purposes. That’s discipline. Admittedly, this is not always comfortable for us. In fact, sometimes, it is downright painful. We’ll be looking at Hebrews 12 this week and I’m praying you’ll see the important difference between suffering that is designed for our growth and suffering that requires grief. The suffering designed for growth is discipline.