I come from family where discipline and hard work were drilled into me. My dad was a rancher and broke horses. Through his braking horses he learned the saying, “make the wrong thing difficult and the right thing easy.” This was his basic philosophy in raising his children. I think for his personality and way of looking at the world this straight forward black and white thinking allowed him to navigate the challenging world of parenting some very strong willed children. I truly believe that my father thought what he was doing was right.
I guess if my father was God, all powerful and completely just then this type of parenting might work. But he is and was not God. For me in particular his style and way of thinking did not mesh with my personality and innate traits. For what he believe to be the “right” thing was not always in line with what I believed was the “right” thing. It was not long before I created my own thinking. If it is hard then it must be the right thing because nothing good in life is ever easy. I to this day struggle with this thinking and have to remind myself that I am no longer a child. God is now the one in control of my life and I have the body of Christ to protect me from other people who try to take control from God.
Following God does not mean that everything is always easy. For the path is not always paved with daisies and roses. But following God also does not mean things are always hard. Rather following God brings fruit of the spirit. This is becoming my new test. When I look at the road before me I am not asking if the road is easy or hard. I am asking God to guild my steps and if I am following him then I should be seeing the fruit of the spirit. Fruit does not always grow overnight but if we look closely you can always find evidence of it sprouting.
So how does God discipline me? Normally it starts with a bit of remorse in my heart revealed to me through spending time with God. He then guides me to how to reconcile the relationship or not make the same mistake in the future. God’s discipline of me has always been gentle and I have always been able to feel his love through the discipline.
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Galatians 5:13-26