My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.
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.
When I was a boy, I was afraid of the word discipline. I knew that I was in trouble for an action I wrongly performed. I remember one in particular. It was my birthday. I must have been between the ages of six and ten years. A cousin and a few friends were over at the house. We were all preparing to enter the station wagon and go to Red Lodge to celebrate my birthday.
I, in my infinite juvenile wisdom, said a word or phrase that my mother found most displeasing. In .2 seconds my mother grabbed the back of my neck and the next thing I recall was finding myself in the kitchen bathroom with two objects in front of me.
I was given the choice between drinking some Tabasco Sauce or having my mouth washed out with ivory soap. I seem to recall that I did not like the prospect of either option. I seem to remember voicing my objections, but that only seemed to cause my mother to be even more resolved to my learning the valuable lesson of self-control.
Holy Scripture says that God disciplines those he loves. Parents discipline those they love. Children are not little snowflakes. Children need to be taught in the ways of responsible Christian adulthood.
Adults are not perfect either. Self-discipline is a way of life. Self-discipline is the pursuit to conform our lives to become more like our Savior every day. This requires a lifelong dedication to the pursuit of conforming our lives to Christ.
This is a hard idea for us Americans. We are a bit rebellious by nature. Or, at least, that is what we are taught by progressive socialists. Fact is, our founding fathers were not rebelling against England or the Church; they were demanding the law be followed. The English law, established over a hundred years before, gave the people the right to have taxation by representation. The English Crown was attempting to circumvent that law. When the religious left France and other countries to escape the rule of the Roman Catholic Church, they were doing so because some of the church leaders had disregarded church teaching and had relations with prostitutes and sold indulgences.
Instead of being inclined to rebel against the love of God, we should be asking ourselves if God is truly omniscient and omnipotent and made me in his image because he loves me, how can I better myself to reflect the fact that I am made in God's image?
Who best demonstrates God's love? The answer to that is that part of God that allowed himself to be born to a human mother, raised by a step-father, and submitted his own selfish will to the follow the will of the Father. That person is Jesus. Jesus is the son of God. He came to this earth and demonstrated what it meant to be a good son. How can we be a good parent if we have never know what it has meant to be a good son? How can we be a good employee if we do not know what it means to be a good son?
Jesus demonstrated what it means to be a good son. He shared with us self-disciplines that can be taught and shared with our prosperity. These disciplines help us to become more like Christ. When we become more like Christ, we glorify the God that made us and blesses us. These disciplines are how we learn to have a more abundant life. Not a life of entertainment, which means to hold together and part from reality, but a life focused on the gifts of existence or the gifts of reality. The gifts given to us by a God that loves us.
You do not have to practice all of these disciplines to have a closer walk with Christ. You can choose them one at a time or, pick and choose, or attempt them all. Your personal relationship with our Savior is up to you.
Before you begin this new journey, I would imagine you want to know which of the two options I chose. I remember looking at the options and I didn't want either one. My mother said she was going to place the picnic basket in the station wagon and she would be back in moment. My cousin and the other kids were yelling; "Make a choice. Hurry up!!" I seem to recall I started to panic as I heard my mother approaching.
"Have you chosen?" My mother asked.
I looked up at her. I looked at my options. I thought to myself, how do I get out of this situation? "Hurry up!!" The kids yelled. "We don't have all day." My mother said calmly. "Make a choice or I will make it for you." She said. I suddenly become resolved to the fact I was not getting out of this. I reached down and I selectedů
As mentioned, there are multiple types of disciplines. The disciplines are broken into two specific types. The first type of discipline are those that are practiced by an individual. These are personal disciplines that are practiced by themselves and no one knows that the individual is practicing the discipline.
The second type of discipline, known as corporate disciplines, are those disciplines that are practiced in the company of others. The church service, also known as mass, is a discipline that is practiced in the company of others. The Apostles taught us a method of worshipping together because it helps everyone to know what is going on, it teaches the correct teachings of Jesus, it provides a method to pass the correct teachings on to our children, and provides for a network of like-minded people to assist one another.
I shared a method of corporate worship on this webpage. It is a method to practice with your family. It is not the method to practice by yourself, though you could. There are multiple personal disciplines that can be practiced to conform your life to be more like Christ and to build your personal relationship to God.
I have shared the four personal internal spiritual disciplines, the five external spiritual disciplines and four corporate disciplines. I have shared the verses for you to read. You will have to decide which of these touch your heart and build your personal relationship with God and our Savior.
1. Personal Spiritual Disciplines
i. Study of the Word of God
b. External Spiritual Disciplines
i. Submission to the Will of God
ii. Simplicity of life
iv. Service to others
2. Corporate Spiritual Disciplines
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.