KEY TO SUCCESS: DISCIPLINE
April 1, 1986 Issue
by Barney Owens
The word discipline appears only once in the KJV (Job 36:10) as the writer points out that God reveals to man the purpose of His various dealings with humanity. The word is found however in the ASV marg. rendering of "instruction" in II Tim 3:16. It also is a definition of the words: nurture (Eph 6:4) and chastening or chastisement (Heb 12:5,7,8,11). So, we are not only dealing with a Bible subject but a Bible word.
Webster defines it to mean education, instruction, improvement involving improvement, so, rule of government or methods of regulating principles and practice. It then is something that must be seen in every facet of life. Where there is no discipline there will be chaos. It can and must point in two directions. Positively it is to receive instruction so that one might avoid mistakes or error. Negatively it is to correct when there has been a misstep or a falling short.
Discipline is to be applied to the family. Where it lacks or where it is not properly applied there cannot be the harmony that God wishes for each home. And a sad truth that all face at one time or another is failure to apply it at the proper time. We can be hasty with our children, but apparently putting off teaching and imbibing God's truth early enough in life is the downfall of we parents. Hind sight is so much better and clear eyed then foresight. As parents grow older please help younger ones with lacking wisdom. It is a mistake, unfair, and not using wisdom properly to make excuses for one's self or others where failures have been made. Instead show young parents how to properly discipline their children. (Tit 2:3-5).
Discipline is to be applied to the congregations. Since the church has no world-wide or universal seat of authority on this earth, the individual congregation cannot seek "the powers that be" to discipline for them, rather each congregation is "the power that is." Admittedly if the church were properly organized with congregations ruled by elders and evangelists were sent to establish and watch over congregations until elders were appointed things would be better. However, we cannot and must not let dreams stand in the way of our practicing what can be done now. The first work of congregation is to prevent mistakes and error by instruction, but when there are problems among members then correction must take place. (I Cor 5:1 -13). We have become so number conscious that we think harm will come if we discipline. We quote Mt 7:13-14; 18:20, often yet seemingly have little faith in them. Discipline to correct has always been beneficial to the church (Acts 5:1 -14). Some who are disciplined at one congregation will be readily accepted, pampered, and caressed at another and God's will is hampered. The church will never grow and prosper unless and until we exercise discipline.
Discipline is to be applied to self. Many of the problems in life as well as blessings which are missing reflect to discipline. As Christians we must give time to God disciplining ourselves to do what is taught in God's word. For example the Book teaches the necessity of studying, do we make it our practice to study some each day, each week or even each month? Prayer is taught, is it a part of our life? As children we must be nurtured by the Lord. If we are not obedient then another phase of discipline will be applied in the last day. Often I am asked by young men who espouse to preach the riches of Christ to humanity, what is the key to being an acceptable and accepted gospel preacher. The answer is not difficult nor a deep, dark secret. It is but one word discipline. Equally does it apply to every Christian: success is discipline.
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