We Must Exercise Discipline
We Must Exercise Discipline
Without discipline we often find ourselves choosing the path of unforgiveness. When we fail to exercise discipline or forgiveness we find ourselves becoming the individual that we don’t desire to become or that our God does not want us to become. We can become bitter people, whether we are willing to admit it or not. As is the case with any sin that we find ourselves committing the more we practice it the more it becomes ingrained as a normal pattern of behavior. The harder we hold onto the hurts, the anger, and the bitterness the more we become slaves of unforgiveness. Romans 6:16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
As bitterness grows in us then we fail to see the trouble and pain in our lives from God’s point of view, and then our expectations of what life should be diverge from the reality of what life really is. The more we participate in the sin and stay in that condition the more difficult it becomes for us to remove ourselves from the slavery that we are involved in.
We must realize and remember that we live in a fallen world and it’s not easy. As the apostle Paul reminds us: Romans 8:22–23 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Take a look at Hebrews chapter 12. This chapter gives us a perspective on the hardships that we face as followers of our Lord. It reminds us that God uses the experience of our lives; the difficulties that we encounter, perhaps especially the difficult ones, to do something special in us to discipline us for our own good, Hebrews 12:10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. We don’t like to think this way. But as parents we can understand this as we may have disciplined our own children for their own good. Hebrews 12:11 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.
The writer of Hebrews is telling us that what has occurred in our life is no big deal. If you have been wounded or mistreated in some way he is telling you to overlook it and get on with what is important. The teachings in Hebrews 12 should encourage us that God considers these matters weighty enough to require His special care and attention. He is using these experiences in order to help us to grow up, as He prepares us for our life that we will live with Him in eternity. This is part of His eternal purpose; His plan to mold us into the image of Jesus Christ so that He can be glorified through our lives. When we have this perspective it gives us hope, it encourages us and gives us the perseverance that we need in order to endure, knowing that it’s all worthwhile. It gives us the perseverance to endure the pain that we must go through this training. This is the pathway that God has chosen for us in order to make us spiritually whole and the individual that He desires us to be. Hebrews 12:12–13 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.
You can trust God, as He is demonstrating a willingness to become involved in your life, giving you evidence not of His disapproval but of His love. God’s chastening reassures us that we are in relationship with Him that we are His. Hebrews 12:14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
We get hurt no matter how serious the offense or how deep the wound, God has grace available to help us deal with the offense and forgive the offender. At that point, we have one of two choices: We can acknowledge our need and humbly reach out to Him for His grace to forgive and release the offender. Or we can resist Him, fail to receive His grace, and hold on to the hurt. We must discipline ourselves to humbly reach out to Him for His grace to forgive and release us.
If we fail to control the root of bitterness in our lives we will become troubled and defiled. Only by God’s grace and the earnest efforts of God to rescue us can we become a forgiving individual.