It is good for a young man to be under discipline, for it causes him to sit apart in silence beneath the Lord’s demands, to lie face downward in the dust; then at last there is hope for him. (Lamentations 3:27-29, tlb)
To “be under discipline” means to willingly and humbly come before God to learn what he wants to teach us.
This involves several important factors:
(1) silent reflection on what God wants,
(2) repentant humility,
(3) self-control in the face of adversity, and
(4) confident patience, depending on the divine Teacher to bring about loving lessons in our life.
God has several long-term and short-term lessons for you right now. Are you doing your homework?
In the late summer of 1989 one million people in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia linked arms and formed a human chain that was 360 miles long. When the chain was completed, one word was passed along the line.
Each one spoke to the next until that one word had been passed along all those 360 miles. The word was “freedom!”
When our Lord Jesus Christ cried from the cross “It is finished,” he might as well have said “freedom!”
Our freedom from sin, our freedom from ourselves, our freedom from death and the grave were all won on the cross and celebrated in the resurrection. See: John 8:32-36;
What does God want us to do with our lives as believers? The answer is this…
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices holy and pleasing to
God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Rom. 12:1-2).
That means—make no excuses—the old way has to go…
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:22-24).
Punish a mocker and others will learn from his example. Reprove a wise man and he will be the wiser. (Proverbs 19:25, tlb)
Learning is sometimes the result of suffering. There is a great difference between the person who learns from criticism and the person who refuses to accept correction.
How we respond to criticism determines whether or not we grow in wisdom.
The next time someone criticizes you, listen carefully to all that is said. You might learn something.
Moses continued speaking to the people of Israel and said, “Listen carefully now to all these laws God has given you; learn them, and be sure to obey them!” (Deuteronomy 5:1, tlb)
The people had entered into a covenant with God, and Moses commanded them to hear, learn, and follow his statutes. Christians also have entered into a covenant with God (through Jesus Christ) and should be responsive to what God expects. Moses’ threefold command to the Israelites is excellent advice for all God’s followers.
Hearing is absorbing and accepting information about God. Learning is understanding its meaning and implications. Following is putting into action all we have learned and understood. All three parts are essential to a growing relationship with God.
Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man. (Genesis 9:6, niv)
Here God explains why murder is so wrong: To kill a person is to kill one made in God’s image.
Because all human beings are made in God’s image, all people possess the qualities that distinguish them from animals: morality, reason, creativity, and self-worth.
When we interact with others, we are interacting with beings made by God, beings to whom God offers eternal life. God wants us to recognize his image in all people.
Jeremy Bentham was the founder of London’s University College. When he died in 1832, according to his instructions, his skeleton was reconstructed, given a wax head, dressed in his best suit, and put in a glass case in the meeting room of the college’s board of governors.
For many years the deceased Bentham attended every meeting of the board and was always described in the minutes as “present, but not voting.”
Sometimes we are present, but not serving!