Revelation 3:15-19 (NLT)
“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.”
Raising five very different and distinct individuals has given me a new appreciation for discipline over the years. Each one of our children required different level of discipline with no two being the same. Some would require constant correction and guidance while others decided early to listen and obey us. They are all driven by different perceptions of the requirements in their life with some who are anxious to live in agreement while others strained against any and all boundaries set in their lives. I have learned a lot over the years after parenting for more than 24 years. I now know the difference between the “majors” and the “minors”. I have decided to pick and choose my battles. Most importantly I have learned the difference between punishment and discipline. With proper discipline, there is seldom the need for punishment in a young person’s life. Sadly as adults, most of us have never learned the difference ourselves. We live lukewarm lives full circle. Not only are we tepid in our relationship with the Lord, but every other relationship we are in. Most of our friends are on “Facebook” and we never lay an eye on each other person which means we rely on “Instragram” edited pictures rather than loving and helping each other make it through life. The Lord is clear in His Word. “I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from indifference.” This is the answer to the “lukewarm”, dissatisfying, boring lives that believers are living nowadays.
What is indifference? It is the lack of interest or concern that the world, as well as the church, has adopted. We really don’t care about anyone or anything but our own life and what directly impacts us. Sounds like selfish children by definition. It is the lack of importance and concern that we have put on the Word of God and Holy Spirit in our life as we choose to live in the gray area marked as the “Middle of the Road”. It is the mediocre life that we have accepted rather than looking for what is promised when faith is turned to confident hope in Jesus Christ. We do not believe there is more to life than this and if we do still do not have the willpower to invest any time or energy in cultivating it. Instead wasting countless hours, days and years watching the world pass us by and missing out on the signs, wonders and miracles possible in our life. Indifference will cost you what discipline will give you. It is time to turn up the heat even if it makes us uncomfortable and accept the discipline of the Lord.
Proverbs 3:11-12 (NLT)
My child, don’t reject the LORD’s discipline and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.
When my adult children were growing up, I began to mold and shape their character for success. Embracing those qualities that made them who they are, but teaching them how to live a life of discipline, respect and integrity. Each day as I dropped them off at school I would tell them that I loved them and to make good choices. Our life is a summation of the choices we make. Each one directly impacts the course of our life. We should consider each decision as though it is significant because it is. But we cannot make an informed choice without instruction. As a mom, it is my job to teach and instruct my children. I am committed to doing so because I love them and want the very best for their life. How many parents hope their child will grow up to be a menace to society or a convicted felon? Of course not, most parents would agree that their heart’s desire is that their child will have a better childhood than they did leading to a successful life. When a child rejects discipline, then there are consequences or they will not respect the authority in their life. They will be division in the family until the child decides to use wisdom to make a better choice. In families that do not guide and direct their children, there is chaos. Mistakes are not always fatal unless we do not learn from them and then they are tragic. We discipline our children because they belong to us. We do not do this with other people’s children and no, we don’t care if everyone else is doing it. Divine discipline is the very thing that makes us legitimate. God provides guidance to His Children. He shows His Way to those He loves. God does not want to control you but wants us to have the best life possible. To reject discipline is to reject God because the only way into His Presence is Jesus Christ. So I guess that is where the comment, “It’s my way or the highway” comes from.
Hebrews 12:5-9 (NLT)
And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,
“My child, don’t make light of the LORD’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 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 at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, 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 good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees.
One of the sayings that my children absolutely abhor is “you can get happy in the same pants you got mad in.” I was not called and created to be my children’s friend as a young person. As they become adults, then the transition occurs as they take responsibility for their own life. They still are subject to the rules of our house when they are home but other than that free to live their own life. It is funny to see how our guidance and discipline has shaped and molded them. I see characteristics and traits in them that are a direct reflection of the influence of discipline in their life. The Word of God says “joyful are those who You discipline.” (Psalm 94:12) It also tells us that discipline allows us to experience the Goodness of God in our life. (Psalm 119:65-68) The Lord actually uses discipline to produce joy in our life as He guides us to better things. (Psalm 32:1-5) Discipline is most often uncomfortable at first. We bristle at the idea of anyone telling us what to do or how to do it. It requires a spirit of humility that few are born with so it is a learned behavior.
God’s Grace does not exempt us from His Discipline but allows us to benefit from it. We could do all the right things in the past but sin separated us from the Living God. Now God lives in us leading us to that which leads to our success and full satisfaction. By faith, we who believe will have the Goodness of God in our life if we choose to accept godly direction and walk in His Wisdom. Grace is not an excuse to rebel and ignore God’s Word without fear of retribution. What good is putting our sin under the Blood of Jesus Christ if we do not decide to move in closer to the Lord? God’s Word, His Spirit and living in His Presence promote a disciplined life that leads to blessing and success. You will have trials in this life. There will be tests. You have to study to pass. You must have knowledge to succeed. God’s Grace allows us to have discipline without punishment. We are now free to enjoy the benefits of salvation without the penalty for our sin. Only a fool despises discipline and rejects godly advice. (Proverbs 1:7) This new idea of grace that allows a life without discipline makes us illegitimate children which comes with a cost.
I Corinthians 11:23-32 (NLT)
For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again. So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself. That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died. But if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way. Yet when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned along with the world.
There is no condemnation in Jesus Christ, but we must decide to live in His Grace, Mercy and Love to escape judgment. We must allow the Holy Spirit to work out salvation from the inside out as we accept the Lord’s Discipline, Guidance and Love. We do not want to get to the end of our life to discover that we “eat or drink from the Lord’s Cup unworthily”. There must be repentance which means to turn away from. One of the things that we must leave behind is indifference. We must examine our life and compare it to what we know about the Lord. Such evaluation should be ongoing just as the pursuit of godly wisdom and knowledge should continue as we learn to live a disciplined life. It is not about what we “eat or drink” religiously. Discipline is not religious rule following but freedom to experience all that God has designated for our success and prosperity. (Colossians 2:20-23) We will not see it this way until He becomes our Father and Closest Friend. Discipline is not punishment because our sin is under the Blood of Jesus Christ washed away in the sea of forgetfulness. Now we can experience the full blessing of discipline without the rod of correction beating us up every time that we mess up. To love discipline is to learn to love and serve God more and more in our life and experience His Goodness, Mercy and Love that is marked by His Joy and Peace from full satisfaction that begins in our heart, mind and soul. (Proverbs 12:1) Discipline is the pathway to life. (Proverbs 10:17) I guess that means that what doesn’t kill us will certainly make us stronger in our determination to have more of Jesus. In fact, it says that we have nothing to fear and that spirit should be foreign to us as we are only given the spirit of power, love and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:6-7) Self-discipline is the mark of maturity that leads to prosperity. Who doesn’t want some of that?
I Corinthians 9:24-27 (NLT)
Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
I want to run a marathon one day. I am not a runner by nature. I don’t know why I want to do it, I just do. When I began going to the gym with my husband, I was very distracted by all the other people who were coming and going. I would watch the screen of the elliptical counting the seconds until my workout was over. Many times in the middle of the routine cycle programmed in the machine, I want to push the stop button. My mind is done or my body cries to get off and I must force myself to stay on course. Life is like that. There are days we have endless energy and enthusiasm in our walk with Christ and some days that we are just over life in general. As we accept God’s Guidance and Discipline, we learn to live a life of balance. We learn to keep going when we want to give up as we come to know and understand that He has a purpose and plan that is good and worthwhile so we take another step. We decide that God is good all the time so we conclude He is worth having and press on to do just that. We enter a covenant relationship as Father and Child so that now we know we can have an inheritance so suddenly we begin to pursue all that God has for us. Before you know it, we turn from our old life to embrace the new life that He is producing in us and all around us. Discipline is to accept hope as the reality of what faith and belief can do in our life and keeping the course until we have it. Do you realize that you win? You have the power in you to be victorious. The prize you win will not get spent, lost or forgotten. It’s prosperity and it belongs to you. So run with purpose in every step and learn what it means to truly walk in His Love. Live a life of discipline and experience what true freedom is all about!
Psalm 94:12 (NLT) Joyful are those you discipline, LORD, those you teach with your instructions.