Discipline is training to act in accordance with a certain set of rules. Young men either know or find out that it takes a certain amount of discipline to finish high school or graduate college. Older men also either know or learn the hard way that a strong sense of discipline is a requirement in order to be successful in the workplace.
Finally, a man who is in the position of being a husband must learn quickly that discipline is needed to maintain a strong marriage and to raise children effectively. In all honesty, discipline is a trait every man must come to grips with at some point in his life.
So, if discipline is needed so much in our culture, why is it not taught more to young men coming up through the ranks? Why does this culture have such a hard time raising effective and mature leaders? Why are men struggling in marriages and not growing up?
The answer lies in the source. Who or what is your source? Who are you allowing yourself to be mentored by or disciplined by? As I was reading through the book of Hebrews, I found a solid section of verses in chapter 12 that show clearly how God raises up men of discipline.
Five Ways a Man Builds Discipline
1. Earthly father. Hebrews 12:10 says, “[Our fathers] 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” (NIV). When speaking about training and discipline, I have to revert back to my earthly father. This was when I first experienced what discipline is and how it impacted my life. I understand that some men may not have had this opportunity to experience an earthly father, but maybe you had a mentor or close friend that helped you learn along the way. Either way, God first teaches us discipline by our earthly fathers but then goes on to say that God will discipline us for good or after we leave our earthly fathers. Once we leave the nest, we must continue to seek God and allow Him to discipline and influence us.
2. Submission. Hebrews 12:9 says,“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!” Is not submission what we faced each time our parents told us to do as we were told? Did we not have to do things we didn't like and go places we didn't want to go? This was all part of the training, and some men are still going through this training long after living with their earthly fathers or parents. We must submit; we must remove signs of selfishness and willingly submit to Jesus Christ. We must learn to trust Him in our actions, trust Him in our decisions, trust Him in our relationships and trust His discipline. Don't wait another day to submit your all to the God who sacrificed everything!
3. Hardship. Hebrews 12:7 says, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?” The first line of this verse is enough to make you rethink all the hardships you have faced in life. What have those moments taught you? Were you able to come away a stronger and better person because of those hardships? We learn from this verse that through hardship, God is treating us as sons. Sit back and think about the life of Jesus for a moment. Think of the time He lived in, the harsh words He encountered, the mocking He had to go through and the final beating and His death. Jesus' life was nothing but hardship after hardship, and yet He remained faithful—better yet, sinless. No, we can never live up to that standard, but we can certainly give an effort and learn from each hardship we face in life. Think this verse through the next time something hard in your life comes up.
4. Perseverance. Hebrews 12:1 says, “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.” There is no question that I have learned the power of perseverance and consistency in my life. This verse nails the strong importance of removing those very things that cause you to sin and become a man that is consistent in Christ. Is your computer causing you to sin? Get a program installed to protect you, or get an accountability partner. Are your surroundings or your friends causing you to sin? Find a new source of friends, or find a new place to hang out. Perseverance is a very strong sign of discipline and maturity. A consistent man will find ways to run alongside Christ when he first gets up, as he encounters obstacles along his day and as he rests at night. Race hard, men!
5. Jesus. Hebrews 12:2-3 says, “[Let us fix] our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. ... Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Jesus was and still is the very definition of discipline, maturity and manhood. He experienced an earthly father, He submitted to His father and to those that betrayed Him, He faced hardships unlike any other human that has ever lived, and through this entire experience He persevered. As we seek the answers of discipline and many other things, we just need to look and dig into the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. As the verse says, we must constantly find ways to fix our eyes and thoughts on Him. We must be selfless and remember the pain that He went through and know that we are not alone in our pain. Christ is with us and ready to discipline us.
“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 punishes everyone He accepts as son” (Heb. 12:5-6).
I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic of discipline. How did you learn it, and how do you maintain it in your life?
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