Saturday, January 26, 2013

Disciplined to Discipline by Martin Wiles

Series: Living With a Clear Conscience

Dad was a master disciplinarian with a large repertoire of maneuvers. Among them, his favorite…a haircut.

I was a baldheaded child, and as I surpass mid-life I am reliving my childhood. But there was a time when I could grow hair…more than my father was comfortable with. If I wanted to fit in, I had little choice. I was a child of the seventies and the hippie generation. Though my hair never crept below my shoulders, it snuggled near them…until I infringed upon one of Dad’s critical rules. Then I was conveyed to the place I despised-the barbershop.

Dad disciplined because I needed discipline. His discipline also helped clear my conscience. He is the God I serve with a clear conscience (II Timothy 1:3 NLT). According to the writer of Hebrews, his audience was also undisciplined. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word (Hebrews 5:12 NLT).

Our sinful nature makes God’s discipline critical. Effective spiritual disciplines help reign in our bent to be bad like the threat of a haircut made me consider unwise behavior before I engaged it. Communion with God disciplines us toward obedience. Had Adam and Eve waited until evening to consult with God before eating the forbidden fruit, life would have changed for them and us. The story is old, but there’s nothing better to replace it with. Healthy spiritual disciplines include regular prayer, consistent Bible study, active listening to God’s Spirit, collective worship, and regular association with others who share our faith. These disciplines won’t make us perfect, but forays into rebellion are less likely when they’re a customary part of our day. Are there disciplines you need more discipline in?

Prayer: Merciful Lord Jesus, may the spiritual disciplines of our life discipline us to walk in a closer relationship with You and foster more consistent obedience to You.