Summary: Throw off everything that entangles and run the course marked off for you.
Title: The Disciplines of a Disciple of Christ, part II
In part I we mentioned Robert Baxter and what he said concerning the materialistic direction of people and the church. Let’s look at that again.
"It is a most lamentable [regrettable] thing to see how most people spend their time and their energy for trifles [unimportant things], while God is cast aside. He who is all seems to them as nothing, and that which is nothing seems to them as good as all. It is lamentable indeed, knowing that God has set mankind in such a race where heaven or hell is their certain end, that they should sit down and loiter [linger, loaf, waste time], or run after the childish toys of the world, forgetting the prize they should run for. Were it but possible for one of us to see this business as the all-seeing God does, and see what most men and women in the world are interested in and what they are doing every day, it would be the saddest sight imaginable. Oh, how we should marvel at their madness and lament their self-delusion! If God had never told them what they were sent into the world to do, or what was before them in another world, then there would have been some excuse. But it is His sealed word, and they profess to believe it."
Now, with that in our minds, let’s look to the rest of Hebrews to tell us “The Disciplines of a Disciple of Christ.”
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.
9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Are you being trained by God? Verse 8 says that if you are not being trained by God then you are not His son, you are not His daughter. Verse seven says we need to accept this training, this education, this discipling that He is performing in our lives because He is treating us as sons and daughters.
I remember when I was growing up my father spanked me very infrequently; probably three times in 18 years. Now, does that mean that I was a very good child? NO. Does that mean I always listened and did the right thing? NO. Does that mean my parents had given up on me? No, it was very much quite the contrary. You see I thought the world of my father. I believed that he could do anything, except spell. People looked up to him, even though he was only 4’11”. (150cm). And, in my mind and heart, it was enough that he would be disappointed in me when I failed, or made a mistake, or did something wrong. It was enough that I had not listened or heeded his teaching, his bringing me up, and his training me for life.
The training was always ongoing. The disciplining (education, instruction, and teaching) was always constant. It only stopped briefly when I closed my eyes at night. Through my childhood and well into young adulthood I learned a myriad of different things. And, try as I may, some of those things continue to be with me today. Even if I tried to forget them, they were written and re-written with indelible ink on a young, impressionable mind that needed to hear such things about life, living, and dieing. The list is endless:
When do you plant and how far apart do you plant corn, potatoes, onions, okra, or tomatoes?
What’s the right mixture of fertilizer for sudan hay, or alfalfa hay?
How do you pull a calf?
How do you weld or use an oxy-acetylene cutting torch or the TIG?
What’s double-clutching and a two-speed back axle?
How do you get a 1200 lbs. boar hog with four inch tusks to go up into a trailer?
What’s a water gap used for, and how’s it built to withstand small floods but break away for big ones?
Have you ever been creek wading, swimming with water moccasins, or smelled a copperhead?
These are good things; these are things that need to be remembered for they are indeed the parables of life that taught me the meaning of life, the meaning of death, and the meaning of living right, and right living.