Discipline seems to be abit of a dirty word these days, it’s often said the “youth of today” are lacking in discipline and respect for authority, and there’s an element of truth in that statement. But as with many statements like this, discipline is a virtue that is better caught than taught, and how have we embodied these values and passed them onto the next generation? Submerged in a culture that revels in sin, promotes single-mindedness and celebrates ill-discipline it takes significant effort for us, never mind young people, to go against the flow and choose to dance to a different beat than the culture we swim in. As a DISCIPLE of Christ, a youthworker who seeks to influence the next generation for Him, how am I SUBMITTING myself to His DISCIPLINE in my life, how am I DISCIPLINING myself to live counter-culturally and resist the sin that prevails in the society in which I am to be an AMBASSADOR.
Sadly alot of our churches have maybe tradionally taken the religious position of BEHAVE, BELIEVE, BELONG in their approach to reaching teenagers : come to our programmes, behave in a way we find acceptable, believe what we tell you and at some stage you will be accepted and therefore belong. But the counter-cultural gospel of grace as demonstrated by Christ flips this approach completely on it’s head, insisting that first we find our BELONGING and sense of worth and value in Him, as a result we come to BELIEVE in his all sufficient act of salvation on the cross, taking the place of our sin, and then with His help we begin to BEHAVE in a way which brings honour and glory to Him. We no longer desire to remain in our sin dead lives, but rather seek to live afresh in response to the His Amazing Grace that saved a wretch like me.
As I read his word I realise that I am to surrender myself to His discipline as a son submits to the discipline of a loving father who wants the best for him, and as a result I am changed.
Proverbs 3:11-12 (MSG) “11 But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline; don’t sulk under his loving correction.12 It’s the child he loves that God corrects; a father’s delight is behind all this.”
I am also to begin a journey as his disciple, and that involves disciplining myself to resist the sinful desires of my human nature, and strive for the holiness that brings glory to the Saviour who has saved me. Paul in his writings likens it to an athlete training for a race, or a boxer training for a fight, and the discipline required to keep their body in prime condition as they strain for the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:26-27 (MSG) “26 I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me!27 I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.”
So am I leading a DISCIPLINED life as I progress along this journey as a DISCIPLE of Christ? That’s the challenge I’ve been left to ponder over recent months, what about you?