Discipline or Useless: Your Choice
22 Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
23 But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee.
You are either a disciplined person or you are of little worth. It may be a pastor, evangelist, mother, dad, or a professional in any line of business. You must be disciplined to your position. It is amazing the impact that follows a disciplined life. There is no end to the extent available to any one that applies discipline. A great singer does not fall out of the sky. A great preacher is the result of many hours before God.
I have known men who could preach an eloquent sermon but were destroyed for lack of discipline. Whether a sermon or a position is a great employment, the end result is discipline. Have you watched the list of media personal, senators or representatives in congress, plus famous names from Hollywood fall to the bottom in recent months? Every case can be tied to an undisciplined life that is only in the present world and does not even speak of the eternal distinction of their soul. My Juanita was utterly disciplined and ended her life with a shout from her family and all who knew her. Yet she was a sick diabetic from her 18th birthday to her 83rd birthday (minus a few days). She was a miracle all the way. Please consider giving yourself to discipline.
“Discipline: noun – instruction: a branch of learning, or field of study; a branch of sport; an event in a sports meeting: training, or mode of life in accordance with rules: subjection to control: order: severe training: mortification: punishment: an instrument of penance or punishment. — verb – to subject to discipline: to train: to educate: to bring under control: to chastise.” (Chambers English Dictionary, Published 1990 by W & R Chambers Ltd., p. 403.)
The book of Proverbs says more about discipline and training of children than all the rest of Holy Scripture together. This book of wisdom places the training and discipline of family life as a top priority. In fact, it would be easy to concur that family life requires more wisdom than all of the rest of life together. If we fail here, then wisdom in the rest of life will be marred by that failure. The fountain of all life is the home. Every individual was born with a deep intrinsic need for a family.
All Scripture has discipline and redemptive powers. Every act or power of redemption that we witness in the life and death of Jesus Christ is evident throughout the whole of the Bible. In other words, the entire Word of God and its truths are redemptive with the death and shed blood of Jesus Christ expressing the ultimate redemption. This being true, the biblical discipline and training of children has incredible redemptive powers. When parents understand that the proper use of corrective discipline actually breaks the emerging expression of a child’s adamic nature, the whole picture changes. Whether it is the positive aspect of training or the negative aspects of discipline, when they are properly integrated together, they redeem the child from those expressions of life that represent sin and disobedience. God has ordained that this part of His saving plan occur in the home while young lives are tender like a sapling tree and bendable to His plan. We are not speaking here of saving grace but of redeeming powers that prepare children for saving grace.
Respect For The Sacred
When children are raised to show no respect for sacred things (the Lord’s Day, Holy Bible, House of God) or persons of authority (parents, grandparents, pastors, teachers, civil authority) that becomes the basis in their life for conviction of sin. Learning respect for sacred things that relate to God is like object lessons for young minds that establishes a deep sense of the divine dimension of life. This sense of the divine is the basis for Holy Spirit’s activity in our lives. Children raised with this awareness will have a quick impulse to get right with God when presented with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Equally important is respect for authority. What basis does a teenager have for giving the Creator his awe or reverence if they never were trained to respect lesser authorities. It has been proven that children that snub their nose at their parents usually snub their nose at the God of the Bible, also. The first lessons a small child should learn is respect for authority and reverence for God. It’s the foundation of all discipline. The very possibility of redemption and righteousness is rooted in the grasp of that which is sacred. Actual authority always flows from God and all redemption has its basis in that authority. Paul the apostle said it well, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same.” (Romans 13:1-3).
Let’s notice several verses of Holy Spirit imparted wisdom from the book of Proverbs. Please remember that Jesus confirmed every Word of the First (old) Testament scripture. He said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17-18).
This absolutely affirms these following verses of Proverbs. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6). “Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” (Proverbs 23:14). “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” (Proverbs 19:18).
The secular humanist who intends to take over our culture and the New Agers and pagans who want control of our children hate these truths because they recognize their powers to change lives more than most people in the church. An article in the New Age publication, Chicken Soup For The Soul, stated,
“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls.” (Chicken Soup For The Soul, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, Florida, 1993, p. 119.)
They do not want you to give your thoughts to your children because they want to give their thoughts to your children. Their whole effort to rob parents of their responsibility is a selfish plan to control your children for themselves and their planned world order. It is diabolical.
29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
The Blood Of Jesus Is The Redemptive Seal Of The Whole Bible
Every word of scripture, rightly divided, has in it the power to change, purify, and redeem. The total need of the human family is found in the Word of God. To even think of raising a family on any other book, idea or philosophy, etc. is sheer suicide. In the past, any culture that substituted secular humanistic ideas in training, discipline and methods have always destroyed the family and produced a generation of wrecks. Our American culture is a present example.
Consider that over the last 2 to 3 decades the humanists have constantly attacked the use of biblical discipline (They call it corporal punishment.). Beginning with Dr. Benjamin Spock’s book, entitled Baby And Childcare, this effort to eliminate and outlaw the use of this and other biblical principles has almost totally succeeded. What have we got as a result? Are our children and youth more adjusted to life, less likely to get into trouble, better equipped to meet life’s demanding rigors? Do we have less child abuse? You know the answer. The condition and life of our children has become pandemic.
Their Solution Is Worse Than The Problem
Now, consider one of the ideas that our society is using to replace the use of discipline in the control of our children. Two and one-half million American children are on a mind-altering drug, called Ritalin. This controversial medicine, methylphinidate, is heralded as a miracle drug because of the effect it has on those uncontrollable children in our schools. The proponents have even given it a very sophisticated medical description that many parents are accepting as fact. Their entire defense of this drug is unproven and without scientific support.
The following excerpts give a professional description of this drug and its use in the classrooms.
“One of the more controversial uses still permitted is the control of hyperactivity in young children. For unknown reasons, amphetamines (and other stimulants) have calming effects on young children. Unfortunately, the diagnosis of hyperactivity often falls on children who simply misbehave or don’t pay attention in school. Giving them amphetamines not only fails to get to the root of the problem, it introduces young people to powerful drugs and encourages among grown-ups the false notion that all of life’s problems can be solved by taking pills.” (From Chocolate To Morphine, (NEED PUBLISHING INFO, DATE) Andrew Well, M.D., & Winifred Rosen, pp. 48-49.)
“This is, beyond question, an American phenomenon. The rate of Ritalin use in the United States is at least five times higher than in the rest of the world, according to federal studies. It’s so common in some upscale precincts that a mini black market has emerged in a handful of playgrounds and campuses. ‘Vitamin R’ — one of its recreational names — sells for $3 to $15 per pill, to be crushed and snorted for a cheap and relatively modest buzz.” (“Mother’s Little Helper” by LynNell Hancock, Newsweek, March 18, 1996, p. 51.)
Some of the problems listed in professional articles are:
- Even many doctors agree that Ritalin is an overprescribed drug. Teachers highly recommend it to parents as a quick fix to a discipline problem and, subsequently, parents pressure doctors into prescribing Ritalin for their children. Dr. Peter S. Jensen, chief of the Child and Adolescent Disorders Research Branch of NIMH said, “I fear that ADHD is suffering from the ‘disease of the month’ syndrome.”
- Some of the “symptoms” listed in “Mother’s Little Helper” as characteristic of children with ADHD are: not being able to wait their turn, blurting out answers, wiggling their legs, tapping their pencils, losing their bookbags, homework and tempers. The Bible says, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” (Proverbs 22:15).
- Listen to what happened to one little boy that was put on Ritalin because his mother felt pressured by the school to do so. “Soon after his first Ritalin dose, John began losing his appetite. He stopped sleeping. He would explode with laughter one minute, shed tears the next. ‘It was scary,’ says Sarah (his mother). Then, the facial tics developed: eye tics, mouth tics, vocal tics. A hair-pulling habit — one that continued months after she pulled him off Ritalin – left a bald spot on the back of his head. Sarah . . . schooled her son at home for some months. Three years later John is thriving, Ritalin-free.” (“Mother’s Little Helper” by LynNell Hancock, Newsweek, March 18, 1996, p. 51.)
Something is wrong. We have forgotten to follow the Holy Book, so look what we now follow. We will discuss more about biblical correction later in this chapter.
Our Children Are Missing Their “Glory”
The glory of children is in the purity of their mind and conscience. It is the “state of being” which, in the past, we have called “innocence.” Israel lost this incredible and lofty high mark for the children of their culture. Micah, the prophet, described it by saying, “from their children have ye taken away my glory forever.” (Micah 2:9). When innocence is lost from childhood, the capacity to regain it does not exist. It is a delicate state of created purity and guilelessness that can only be provided in a disciplined biblical home. It is, in essence, the glory of God in their person. Any intrusion into the home of vileness, filthy television or videos, pornographic books (soft or hardcore), and questionable children’s entertainment or toys will begin the process of de-sensitizing children to accept or experience the impure. That is what we call the loss of innocence.
Sure, there is a proper time when children learn all about sin. The place to learn those facts are right in the home by the means of family worship and family Bible study. The Bible is filled with stories to show the destruction of sin and the wise parents describe this in its natural process of reading and discerning scripture. Too much too soon or too little too late is best understood by sensitive parents who wait on the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Children who learn about sin and its evil consequence around their parents’ knees will never forget the message. The security of love and understanding is the atmosphere where learning the facts does not destroy the innocence of purity. Do not wait for them to learn about sex from a neighborhood kid.
This childhood state of “glory” or “innocence” is almost unknown by this present generation. We must accept the fact that the family is where the main failure and responsibility rests. There is no price too great to pay for recovering this glory for our children. It will cost a change in the lifestyle of most homes. Much of what goes for present day success and pleasure may well be on the auction block as you weigh the cost. Consider the absolute certainty of God’s promise, “They shall not depart from it.” The infallibility of the Bible is on-line and God will defend His promise. Mature Christian children who have made a wise choice in marriage and who bring you well-disciplined grandchildren to love will make you rich beyond silver and gold. This kind of glory starts with the innocence of childhood and is fulfilled in the strength of manhood and womanhood.
8 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
9 He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.
10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
Discipline Is First And Foremost Instruction
Nothing can be worse in a home than correction without the foundation of instruction. A parent actually earns the right to correct their children by first providing instruction to them. When children are absolutely secure in mom and dad’s love and instruction, then the level of correction is measurably altered. Pure parental love is in itself the first step of instruction. Love is the opposite of fear. In fact, “perfect love casteth out fear.” (I John 4:18.) Fear cannot survive while love is master.
Children learn more from your emotions and actions in the absence of fear than they learn from your words. If they feel the emotion of unselfish love then they will find pleasure in your acceptance of them. I never remember one of my children that did not love me more after I corrected them for an act of disobedience.
Children are secure when they know beyond any shadow of doubt what is right and what is wrong, what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. There must be a firm basis for determining what is the acceptable and it must be fair. Treating children unfairly or differently on different occasions is devastating. There must not be any basis for jealousy or competition among siblings. Also, mom and dad must unconditionally agree and support each other. Their differences should be solved privately.
Identifying The Self-Nature
The self-nature is the seat of our Adamic sin nature. In the nature of self is where sin takes root. When the root is firmly established, it spreads and controls until the person is ruled by self and sin. When this happens, it is tough and often almost impossible to see that individual come to a surrendered life. This usually happens in childhood and begins to really show at the young adolescent stage. That is why the Creator put children in a home where nurturing and discipline should occur.
Parents must learn to identify dangerous childhood expressions of self regardless of how young that child may be. There are wholesome expressions and needs as well as unwholesome expressions and needs. Wholesome needs must be fulfilled and nurtured. Unwholesome expressions must be disciplined and controlled. The goal is to show your child their selfish actions and discipline them. Sometimes the discipline is in simply showing them and accomplishing their acceptance and change. Sometimes those expressions must be disciplined with a biblical rod (switch). You dare not allow selfishness to control your child’s life.
Their expressions of self can be best dealt with before a child is six to eight years of age. Children under six change much easier than children over six. After the age of six, your job becomes tougher by the hour, if not impossible.
Protective mothers are often a real problem in identifying the self-nature. Fathers, older siblings, and grandparents can, also, play a part and are sometimes the main problem. I can almost hear an overprotective mother say, “He is just a boy” or some other silly excuse. The wisdom of Scripture speaks directly to this matter and seemed to point a finger at that overprotective mother. “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” (Proverbs 29:15).
Undisciplined parents cannot discipline children effectively. The Bible declares, “. . . he that ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a city.” (Proverbs 16:32). Uncontrolled parents are almost certainly going to produce uncontrolled children. In fact, most unruly children are the product of an unruly home. The first thing every parent should do in preparation for training their children is to do a checklist on themselves. Are you in charge of your life? Do you conduct yourself with an orderly pattern? Are you disciplined in habits of eating, meeting your schedule for work and responsibilities, paying the bills, etc.? Most people lose control of their temper because, to begin with, they are not in control of their life. It is impossible to biblically train and discipline children if you are not in control of your attitudes, dispositions and reactions.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:21). Nothing reveals the discipline or lack of discipline of a person more readily than their words. A screaming parent will leave a dark mark on the lives of their children. If the mom or dad is not in control of their words, what right do they have for correcting a child or young person who is not in control of their words or actions. How can you appeal to fairness when your problem is as real as their problem? They may have disobeyed you, but when you lose control, they know you are in disobedience, also. Hypocritical discipline is more damaging than no discipline at all.
A mom and dad with a pure tongue will find that most correction can be done by strong, gentle words. The scripture teaches, “The tongue of the just is as choice silver.” (Proverbs 10:20a). “But the tongue of the wise is health.” (Proverbs 12:18b). “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4). “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89). “Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.” (Jeremiah 1:12). If you will follow the truth in these words, He will send His Spirit to defend you.
Biblical Discipline Is Not Complex
The discipline of children has been made into an almost impossible task by the multiple books and ideas from the “experts”. This was probably the subject Solomon had in mind when he wrote, “. . . of making many books there is no end . . . “ (Ecclesiastes 12:12). It is unfortunate that the church has sought out the unchurched for its ideas. Even when men in the church have written on this subject, they have often integrated the wisdom of the world. The Psalmist wrote, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” (Psalm 1:1). The manufacturer’s handbook (Holy Bible) was right again.
Simple principles from Holy Scripture and a happy mom and dad is the foundation. It is important that parents saturate themselves with the Bible and then let those wonderful truths become natural in their daily lives. Parents, filled with God and His Word, will show genuine pride in each child and will learn to believe in them to be the best they can be. If our confidence is in the authority of Scripture to accomplish biblical redemption, then faith in the finished results will not be hard. The result is God’s promised miracles as we obey His principles and commands.
4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
When Physical Correction Becomes Necessary
Biblical discipline (paddling) is not brutal, but corrective. It is not to be administered by an angry mom or dad. When you get angry, you have already been defeated. I need to clarify that statement. Anger is a relative term. We may well be angry at the destruction of disobedience or some foolish act to which our child has been a party, but we must not be angry in an ungodly fashion. Job hated evil and God is angry at sin every day, but these were and are righteous emotions that defend holiness. A parent should strive to have a similar attitude towards wrong and correction, but always in perfect control of their words and action.
Do not use any item in discipline that has the ability to do damage. I believe the “rod” that scripture teaches us to use is a keen switch the size being determined by the age of your child. My dad always sent me to go get a peach limb. (It is a wonder we had any peach trees left.) I do not believe we should use our hand to paddle. The hand is too personal. The rod of correction is never used to be damaging, but rather corrective. It should never do anything but leave a stripe. Its power is in its sting, not its pain.
His Stripes Were For Our Healing
There is physical healing in the stripes of Jesus Christ. “. . . by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1Peter 2:24). The pain of Jesus Christ’s suffering and death has atoned for our redemption. Every truth in scripture is imparted by sacrifice of His death and shed blood. The stripes on Jesus’ back were brutal because they were put there by their enemies. Our stripes of discipline are certainly similar in redemptive powers but different in administration. Discipline stripes have their power in His commands; they are love stripes, placed on the child by tender compassion to save the soul.
You cannot separate His pain from the discipline of children that they may be redeemed. “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” (Proverbs 29:15). “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” (Proverbs 19:18). “Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” (Proverbs 23:14).
If we parents must be chastised by the Lord to bring us to sonship, how much more our children need our chastening. It is God’s plan and all other plans are visibly failing. Biblical discipline is redemptive and beautiful. It is clearly God’s plan outlined in His Holy Book.
It is extremely important that you use this chapter as a whole and not in part. There is no easy route to a well disciplined house, but neither is it beyond your reach. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5).
Remember to stay clear of the wisdom of this world. The Scripture is perfect and better still its works. Every idea apart from God and His book is dangerous. Neither will it do you any good if you reject the world’s methods if you do not carefully follow God’s direction. Biblical discipline cannot fail if you obey the truth.