This series of posts comes from a workshop / seminar I gave to a collection of youth leaders in Superior, WI called: Discipline w/ the Gospel in Mind.

// What is the goal of discipline?

  • Is it the goal of discipline just to make it through an hour or two of youth group?
  • Is the goal to make it through a football game or your favorite show on TV without the kids interrupting you?
  • Is the goal just to stop bad behavior and shape good behavior?

I was a children’s pastor for 4 years before I became a parent. I got a lot of practice disciplining kids @ church for various things. I knew, though, that my years of practical experience disciplining students at church was only going to help me a little when it came to discipline with my own children. There was (and still is) a stark difference between @ home discipline and @ church discipline. At church I only have to make it through 1 or 2 hours. At home, my wife and I have to make it through life… 24/7. That’s the difference. I was experienced in curbing behavior temporarily, enough to make it home at the end of the day. What I was not experienced in was living with and curbing declining obedience each and every day… all day and all night long.

Which really speaks to what the goal of discipline is. What is the goal of discipline?

When I hear the word “discipline” I what I don’t think of:

  • Being a “disciple”
  • being loved
  • our good
  • harvest of righteousness and peace

But that’s exactly what the Bible “thinks” when it comes to the word and application of discipline:

// Hebrews 12:1-11 NIV

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

“In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.’

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Discipline is good, according to Scripture.

  • Maybe we humans have twisted it for our own gain and end?
  • Maybe we humans have been on the receiving end of poor, mean, and bad discipline?
  • Maybe we perpetuate that same kind of discipline?
  • Maybe we don’t believe the Gospel, that God desires for discipline to be done His way, and not our own way?

Maybe we haven’t looked at discipline in light of the Gospel?

How does one discipline w/ the Gospel in mind?