Disciplined To Discipline

April 28, 2013
by Martin Wiles

Dad was a master disciplinarian with a large repertoire of manoeuvres. Among them, his favourite: 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" (2 Timothy 1:3a NLT). The writer to the Hebrews says his audience was also undisciplined:

Hebrews 5:12 – 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. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. (NLT)

Our sinful nature makes God's discipline critical. Effective spiritual disciplines help rein in our bent to be bad, like the threat of a haircut made me consider unwise behaviour before I engaged in 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 that 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. Amen.

About the author:

Martin Wiles <mandmwiles@gmail.com>
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen – thank you Martin!
    Blessings.


    Good point Martin!
    Discipline is good. Thank you!


    Thank you Martin.
    Blessings to you and yours for the week ahead.


    Good morning, Martin: All I can say is AMEN!
    Blessings in Christ.


    Thank you Martin.
    Thank you for a reminder we need to keep uppermost in our minds.


    Martin, Thank you for today’s devotional. I always enjoy what you share and I always want to thank God because it does me so much good.


    Amen
    So true. Thanks you for writing a message that I am sure speaks to us all in different ways, but all to the good as a reminder to seek that discipline we need never forget.


    Good devotional Martin,
    Having always had a short back and sides hair cut. I can recall how my students over the years, used to kid me about my hair-style during the duck-tail and other eras of hair styles. I am in my 70’s and apart from being a bit grey it is still only the same short back and sides. And that is the same with my faith. I have had it as long as I can remember and there’s no other like it.
    Blessings.


    Chuckling about your haircuts Martin, I too (& I’m a girl) was subject to having to have haircuts, done by my dad, (who was not a hairdresser or a barber). He just simply hacked my hair every summer.
    I hated it and there were always tears. Finally when I reached 18 he left my curly locks a learn. But oh boy he was a stern disciplinarian, a little too much so, he overdid. There needs to be more parental discipline these days, I am sure many will agree. I’m sure some of us at one time or another think God’s discipline is harsh, but we likely deserve it and it certainly gets our attention when he weilds the parental rod and yes there can be tears then also. Thank your for your devotional.
    (B.C.)


    Dear Martin,
    I really Liked your devotional from today.
    The Scripture from Hebrews 5:12 really spoke to my heart.
    Thank you for writing it.

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