I am in a season where my character is really being shaped by God and it has been beautiful and brutal at the same time! Its hard to be honest with yourself about who you are becoming. I am having some of the most truthful conversations with my wife and accountability partner that I’ve ever had and in the process the truth is setting me free! (Jn. 10)
When I was a youth pastor in Owensboro, KY I had a friend named Bill Barron who spoke a lot of life into me. His family was very good to us during the five years that I served at Owensboro Christian Church as the high school pastor. I’ll never forget the day that he loaded me up into his car and took me to a weekend retreat that he scheduled without me knowing. My wife was in on this and I did not like it at all. It was called, “Walk to Emmaus” and that weekend proved to be life changing for me. I’ll never forget something that Bill said to me while I was there. He said,
“Love without discipline is hypocricy but discipline without love is brutality.”
Wow…what a huge thought! It rocked me as a father and as a pastor. I had viewed discpline the wrong way. I had a very strict father who taught me to have a healthy fear of him. In response to that, I had been a father and youth pastor who allowed way too much too happen without saying a word. It was in rebellion to such a ridgid set of rules that I had to live by. I wanted my family and my ministry to be a place that was just a stinkin blast. I have always been the kind of person that has aired on the side of grace instead of justice because of my upbringing. However, during that week, I realized that I really wasn’t loving because of my lack of discipline. I realized that “discipline is the purest form of love.” You can find that in the scriptures in Hebrews 12:5-12, where the chapter heading is:
“God’s Discipline Proves His Love”
.5And have you entirely forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you, his children? He said,
“My child, don’t ignore it when the Lord disciplines you,
and don’t be discouraged when he corrects you.
6 For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes those he accepts as his children.” F54
7As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Whoever heard of a child who was never disciplined? 8If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children after all. 9Since we respect our earthly fathers who disciplined us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to the discipline of our heavenly Father and live forever?
10For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in his holiness. 11No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
In order for me to live a life that produces a “harvest of right living” it appears as if we have to be disciplined by a God who loves us. In order for that to happen..I have to long for the discipline, reproof, and correction of a righteous God even when I don’t think I need it. Today…I want to challenge you to not be a hypocrite and continue loving those around you without discipline and/or any correction. Carefully admonish and correct those around you in honest and sincere truth! In other words, have the courage to love deeply!!
Do you agree?? Is love really not love if there is no discipline involved?