Many people struggle when the topic of discipline comes up. For them, discipline has a very negative connotation. To them it means ‘punishment’ or ‘suffering’ and is always associated in their minds to negativity.
The Greek word often used in the Bible for discipline actually means ‘to nurture’. You see, discipline is a MUST if we are to learn, to grow, and to be who we were created to be.
Hebrews 12:6 teaches, “because the Lord disciplines those He loves…” This does not mean that he punishes us, or hurts us. Instead, when God disciplines us it is always to help us to grow to be better people, and it some cases to save our lives.
Take me for example. I have said this before but I have been overweight most of my adult life, and to be totally honest, I did not really care either. It did not seem to bother me much as I learned long ago never to put any stock in what others who are not close to me think about me if they chose to be negative towards me. So when others would joke about my weight, I would just laugh with them and move on. Besides, I love food! ALL food.
So God clearly saw I was not taking this seriously. So first God allowed me to get myself to the point where I had Type 2 Diabetes. Next, it became more and more difficult to play basketball with my son for longer periods of time, or play soccer with him. Yet I was still not moved to action. Next my knees started to hurt to the point where if I were to jog on the treadmill I had to wear knee braces. Yet I was still not moved to care.
Finally during a particularly intense meditation session I was having recently with the Bible, God brought me to the Book of Luke, which I had read like a million times, but this time I found myself getting very emotional when reading about how Jesus’ friends and disciples reacted to His death. Then the Holy Spirits’ small voice whispered to me, “I guess this is how your friends will react soon when you die because you are not disciplined enough to take care of your body.”
Well, I got real serious real quick because I am not the least bit interested in causing myself to die because I am lazy. What a thing to have put on your tombstone – “Dude ate himself to death.”
I found The Daniel Plan book from Pastor Rick Warren, which is not only a great diet plan for folks with diabetes, but it is also a whole life book that teaches you how to discipline yourself in many aspects of your life. Once I prayed to God that I finally understood that I was undisciplined and I needed His help to do this, then started doing my part by eating right and exercising as my body will allow me to, God showed amazing grace to me. My last trip to my doctor for my 3 month diabetes check up was the absolute best I have had since 2005. I am now able to stop my diabetes medications and I have lost almost 18 pounds. My A1C numbers were down from an 8.5 to a 6.5 which is a miracle for me. And trust me, all I did was follow the diet (do not eat anything white – rice, bread, sugar, potatoes, etc) and very minimal exercise, mostly walking and getting those 10k steps in a day – oh and I asked for God’s help in getting it done. It also helped to have accountability partners who are willing and able to jump my case when they see me making poor food choices or taking the elevator instead of the stairs.
Discipline is the only way we will ever grow to be the people God wants us to be and let me tell you, God will not leave you alone until you give in and get discipline in your life. We need it whether we want it or not. As well, it sets a great example for our kids. We cannot ask them to be disciplined if we are not.
Our world today is the least disciplined it has ever been. We are a “I must have it now or else” society. We cannot wait for anything. As well we work more hours than we ever have and we spend a great deal of time feeling tired or worn out and we just don’t feel like doing what we need to do.
The choice is yours – be disciplined now, or be dead before we should be. It is my prayer that you will choose the discipline and instead of dreading it, let it be what motivates you to be all that you can be for yourself, for your family and friends, and for the glory of God.
Now where did I put my carrot sticks…….
Pastor Brad Komgenick