Thursday, August 30, 2012

Necessity for Discipline

Besides this, our earthly fathers used to discipline us and we treated them with respect, and shall we not be still more submissive to the Father of our spirits, and live?  -- Hebrews 12:9 (Weymouth New Testament)
I recently picked up a book called Driven to Distraction.  It is about Attention Deficit Disorder.  I realized as I read through the list of symptoms that this has been a life-long problem for me.  One of the listed symptoms that jumped out at me was "trouble in going through established channels, following "proper" procedures."  I have wrestled like Jacob with rules and boundaries.  I perpetually feel hemmed in by "reality."  My innate natural intelligence got me through school --thank God --because I always lacked the self-discipline to sit down and actually study.  If I was told to read certain books, I would glance through them looking for the "fun" parts and then go find other books that I felt were better suited to the cause.

In these later years of my life, however, I have started to awaken to the fact that discipline is a valuable thing.  Discipline and order are necessary components to remaining focused on things that are more important than my whims and endless pursuits for new and exciting.  In addition, as one of the growing "old codgers," I find myself bemoaning the fact that "discipline today isn't what it was when I was growing up."  As the rods have been spared the doors have opened for sassy, belligerent, rude behaviors being the norm.  Respect for a lot of things appear to have slipped.  Personal opinion and individuality have become an authority with full rights to "creative self-expression."  Now I look through a different magnifying glass with knowledge of my attention disorder and see how I, too, subscribed to this free-wheeling liberty.  Now in my 50's I can see some of the ways it has not served me particularly well.

These verses in the twelfth chapter of Hebrews (v. 5-11) speak of how out of God's love God disciplines.  God disciplines us because we are intimately included in God's family as daughters and sons.  I would really hope God's family would have some high expectations for each of it's members.  If we were not being disciplined it would be a sign we were not considered important or worthy of notice; further, that the family itself lacked self-respect and opinion for what others might think of us.  As members of God's family we have a mission in the world, a focus: to spread the Good News.  The love, God's very own love, for the world is real.  God stands beside us and lifts us through the hard times and punishing moments as much as through the good times and uplifting moments.  God is real.  Our relationship as beloved sons or daughters is real.  Be proud you're part of The Family.

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