Disciplining children is not easy. It would be easier to let children just do what they want instead of struggling to teach them to do what they ought. Take screen time, for example. Since my kids were little, I’ve been convinced children should not spend a lot of time plunked down in front of a screen — but they had no such conviction. My daughter loved to watch cartoons and begged to watch cartoons, and it was easy to give in because then I was freed up to get some work done. She was happy. I was happy. It seemed like a good deal. But then I would remember there’s a reason I didn’t want her spending a lot of time in front of the TV. The point of discipline is to make sure we don’t get so focused on the present that we set ourselves up for trouble in the future.
Children aren’t the only ones who need discipline. We adults need to discipline ourselves to go to work, to clean the house, to spend our money wisely and, most importantly, to obey God.
It’s true that we depend on God’s Spirit to help us obey Him. Without God working in our lives, we can never live as He asks us to live. However, God does not take control of our wills. He guides us and strengthens us, and then He lets us decide whether we will follow Him or go our own way. That’s where discipline comes in. Often, following God means saying no to instant but short-lived rewards so that we can enjoy eternal rewards later. We need discipline to make that choice.
If you’re having trouble being disciplined in your Christian walk, remember God does not give us rules and directions just to give us rules and directions. He always has a purpose, and that purpose is always for eternal good.
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God … for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:6a,7