Don’t you just love it when God brings multiple lessons and teachers your way to convey a message seemingly just for you? Today, I want to share with you something I feel God has been teaching me about discipline. It seems to be a dirty word to some folks but I believe it actually is a word that can bring about peace and healing in the home.
It all started when I began studying the life of David. He was a man who loved God greatly and had a heart for him. The two most important things that I have taken away from David are:
1.) that he was able to receive discipline and thus was able to have peace with God.
2.) that he didn’t effectively discipline his own children and, as a result, had a lot of strife and contention in his family.
As I’ve been doing life lately, I have been studying several different books/Bible studies and listening to different podcasts put out by godly people. One of the podcasts was from REVIVE OUR HEARTS; I was listening to Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth interview Jani Ortlund. She was discussing discipline in the home and this planted a seed.
Studying David’s life I noticed his lack of discipline and this planted another seed. Reading another book inspired me to research what God says about each matter.
After all those seeds were planted, I stumbled onto Hebrews 12:5-15 and when I read about the reason and goal of discipline, I could not stop there. I went to the Bible and read all the verses I could about what God says about discipline. I was once again given clarification about how and why I am to accept discipline and give discipline to the children in my care.
Stop for a second and read Hebrews 12:5-15
“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
The Goal: (From Hebrews 12:10) The goal of discipline should be that we share in HIS holiness.
The Result: (Hebrews 12) The result of discipline, that is received properly, should be the peaceable fruits of righteousness, healing of brokenness in our lives and strength in areas where we have been weak. As well, if discipline is done right, there should be peace and not bitterness.
Hebrews 12 teaches us that when we discipline our children it shows them that they are ours. We love them and care about their outcome. It is actually easier to leave them to their own devices. However, a caring parent invests in her child when disciplining.
So what does God teach us on this subject?
Proverbs 13:24 – He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
Proverbs 23:12-16 – Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge. Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine. Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.
We are to first go to God and be instructed by Him in every matter, also sharing that knowledge with our children. When they disobey/rebel against God or God-given authority, we are to correct by spanking. If you are being Spirit-led and not doing it in anger of the flesh, you will not be abusive.
The point is for them to feel the consequences of their sin. We would pray that this leads to their acknowledgment of their own sin and brokenness and to them desiring healing. “The rod” should never be used in anger or frustration but in peace to bring about peace. The end of this verse indicates that is also brings about happiness to the child and thus the parents.
Proverbs 29:15: The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
I should ask myself this question before I bring about discipline. Can my reproof bring my child to wisdom? If my children evidence wisdom after I speak to them about an offense, then they don’t need a spanking.
This verse is so convicting because, as a mom of little ones, it is so much easier to just ignore their offenses or give them chance after chance. …but the end result will just bring us mothers to shame.
Proverbs 19:17 – Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.
Proverbs 22:15 – Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”
So what does God teach us about discipline and what can we teach our children on this matter?
Here are just a few verses on this subject…
Proverbs 25:28 – “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”
Hebrews 13:17 – Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
Ephesians 6:1-4 – Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
We need to remember that it’s not just about forcing our children to obey. Yes, we need to exercise admonition (the word meaning discipline), but our kiddos need lots of nurture and love. If the love is not there, wrath will be. Look at the verse and notice which one comes first. We need lots of nurture before we will ever get anywhere with our admonition.
- So, in conclusion, after reading all the above, when should I discipline?
When a reproof (spoken words) does not bring about wisdom. When they continue to do something that they were already warned about.
- When the child is being blatantly disobedient or rebellious to the ways of God and those who HE has put in charge.
- When there is foolish behavior. The book of Proverbs tells us what a fool is. This could include when a child does something thoughtlessly that could hurt himself or the others around him.
- When peace and healing are needed.
I hope that you are blessed and encouraged by this. There are lots of strong opinions and methods regarding this subject, but the truth of the Bible stand.
Children come in all sorts of sizes, shapes and personalities. Your child may only need a reproof, but they may need more. I would encourage you to study the Bible on this matter and be Spirit-led. He will show you.