Self-Discipline and Discipline within God’s Family

The Lord entrusts His discipline of us to three different parties:

The Holy Spirit

Before He went to the cross, Jesus told his disciples that it’s for their benefit that He should go.  He told them that another would be sent on His behalf to teach them.

John 14:25-26 [NIV]
25″All this I have spoken while still with you. 26But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

John 16:7-8 [NIV]
7But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:

John 16:12-16 [NIV]
12″I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.
16″In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”

God’s Family – or the Body of Christ

When Jesus commissioned Peter and others to disciple as He had discipled them, He entrusted them with the duty and wisdom to bring necessary discipline with their message. Moreover, as we mentioned before, God would grant them spiritual gifts – the authority and power to bring this discipline. These were given to impart God’s wisdom and life to the members of the body of Christ.

Matt 10:24-25 [NIV]
24″A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!

Eph 4:11-16 [NIV]
11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

One’s Self

It is imperative to remember, that although we are created by God and He orders our steps, we can still exercise our freewill. This means we can choose to obey or disobey God. It was God’s intention that the Israelites would learn in their heart to believe and trust Him. Yet they did not, and thus provoked Him to anger. A generation wandered in the wilderness for 40 years and died, till God raised up another generation to continue the mission He called them into.

God gives us the ability to exercise freewill, yet it pleases Him when we choose to lay it aside and yield to His will. This is the essence of the life of Jesus in human form. Facing all trials and temptations, He did not sin. He learned obedience by the things He suffered, even to the point of death on a cross.

Heb 2:14-18 [NIV]
14Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil- 15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

This is the essence of self-discipline: the freedom God gifted us as man to make right choices out of our love for Him; to choose to obey Him even though we might not understand everything. This is the essence of the work of faith.

Rom 6:8-14 [NIV]
8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

Rom 8:12-14 [NIV]
12Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation-but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

This is _Part 4_ in the series Disciplined by the Father and Self-Discipline.  To continue with this series, click on Pt 5.  To use this as a growth tool to better understand your own calling, you might start by reading the explanation of this series, Pt 1, Pt 2 and Pt 3.

Photo credit: crossmap backgrounds

Get Instant Access To