What does the Bible Say About Discipline?
Our Struggle with Self-Discipline: Shaping Our Spiritual Selves
If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you can testify that starting is always the hardest part. Most of the time you have to unlearn bad habits- like snacking, or mindless eating, and a sedentary lifestyle. Then you have to learn new habits- regular exercise, eating clean, and proper sleep. It’s never as easy as drinking a certain tea or a special shake; shaping your body takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and discipline.
The same goes for our spiritual lives. We don’t come into our faith and then instantly be the best Christians we can be. We also have a lot of unlearning and learning to do, and it’s a daily conscious decision to follow Christ, one that can hit a lot of bumps and dead ends. This is exactly why discipline is so important to our faith, because it will definitely get hard; If we’re not prepared, then we will not be able to endure. Let’s see how we can get into optimum spiritual shape with these bible verses about discipline.
God Disciplines those He Loves
"Spare the rod, spoil the child"
It can seem like torture sometimes, when we are being disciplined by God. But it is never about hurting us, or teaching us a lesson “just because”. Because our God loves us, He wants us to be the absolute best we can be, and the only way to attain that is through training and repetition. So even if sometimes it does hurt, you can be sure that it’s coming from a place of love and care. Think of it as a potter who is lovingly shaping a beautiful jar – he’ll have to smooth out the rough edges, remove unnecessary parts, and it can get messy. The result, however, is always a lovingly crafted work of art.
“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
and do not resent his rebuke,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.”
“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.”
“ And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, ‘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 chastens everyone he accepts as his son.’”
Discipline Develops Integrity and Wisdom
We’ve heard it said that experience is the best teacher. Well, think of discipline as your most tenured professor. There simply are things that cannot be learned by being told about it. The things that shape who we are, what we believe in, the things that we hold most dear, these are things that are fortified by experience, and discipline is an experience you are unlikely to forget. Sometimes it will hurt, sometimes it will seem tedious, but discipline will never go to waste. It will form in our hearts and minds wisdom that we will not be able to acquire otherwise.
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.”
“Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.”
“No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Discipline Makes Us Strong
When you watch athletes like Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, or Michael Phelps, you can be sure that they’ve subjected their bodies to intense training. Their athleticism can only be achieved with extraordinary dedication and diligence, and it makes their body perform on an elite level.
Your spiritual strength can also be trained in the same way. When you discipline yourself and remove distractions, daily meditate on the word of God, and walk in His will intentionally, your faith is made stronger. Just like a dedicated athlete, your endurance during the trials of life will increase. When you’ve constantly spent time in the presence of your Savior, your peace will not be easily shaken. Spiritual discipline prepares you for anything life may throw your way, as you live and move in Jesus.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
“Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away. Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”
“People who cannot control themselves are like cities without walls to protect them.”
2 Timothy 1:7
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
Keeping all of these bible verses about discipline in mind, you will be able to walk through life with the confidence of Christ. The power of the Holy Spirit is alive in you, and with diligence and discipline, you faith will never be shaken.