Many years ago I heard a story illustrating the power of discipline. A guy went to interview a group of kids incarcerated in juvenile hall. He was doing research on the causes of juvenile delinquency and hoped to learn some answers from the kids themselves. He asked them a simple question:
“What is the thing you wanted most growing up?”
The answer he heard blew him away.
“We wished someone would tell us no.”
Yes, that is right. They wanted to be told “No”.
The stark reality of the children’s answer speaks earth-shattering truth to the world of guardians and parents around the world. For if those in authority would guess anything, they surely would not assume the rebellious kids wanted to be resisted. And yet, that is exactly what they wanted.
“TELL US NO”.
Here is a passage from the book of Job wherein the speaker Eliphaz comments on the power of discipline from God:
“Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For He inflicts pain, and gives relief; He wounds, and His hands also heal.” Job 5:17
There is a rebellious nature in each one of us. This nature is displayed different ways. We all stray from what is good and right by default, so discipline is a necessary part of a normal life. In fact, if there is no discipline in a life, that life is a life in serious need.
God gave us His law in the Ten Commandments, and expounded on those laws in the Scriptures of the New Testament. These laws stand as a “guide” for living, a pattern to follow to achieve the ultimate in health, happiness, and prosperity. Since the daily breaking God’s laws is a given in humanity, there must be a measure of discipline to keep us on the right track. Woe to us if there is no discipline to deter our fractious natures!
Just like children who need direction and discipline from their parents to lead a productive, successful life, so also we as adults need oversight from our heavenly Father. When kids don’t have discipline from their guardians, they feel the lack, and they react accordingly. The lack of discipline exacerbates the bend toward evil that already lingers in their hearts. And the unrestrained result is disastrous.
Just the same, God’s discipline keeps our proclivity to evil at bay; without it, our selfish and carnal natures dominate until they are out of control. We need God’s daily discipline. It is life giving.
And what is the result? Happy people. For as He gives pain, He gives relief. As He wounds, so He heals.
And so the power of discipline is substantiated, as laid down explicitly in the Bible, and evidenced in real life all through time. You can go back as far as Genesis 3 where God lays down discipline for the sinners who fell, to the teachings of modern day business coaches such as Brian Tracy, to your place of employment, to your very own family, children and parents.
We need discipline! It is a vital ingredient to a healthy life. To a happy life. Let’s be sure to never despise what God gives us out of His great love for us. He knows best what is good.