“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Hebrews 12:11 ESV
“Discipline is not punishment. Discipline is changing someone’s behavior”
Being disciplined (punished), getting discipline (training) and having discipline (successful living) are all part of God's plan for us as believers in and followers of Jesus. Whether a brand new Christian or lifelong church goer, our Father is preparing us to live a fruitful and productive life in His kingdom. He is inviting us to be branches connected to Him as the vine, which is a great visual, but what does it actually look like?
As a Kingdom Man you are expected to bear fruit (I totally didn’t understand what that even meant for a long time). We learn about fruits of the Spirit in the book of Galatians (Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control). I get it. I like lists that I can sort of check off. When I decided to follow Jesus these kinds of fruits didn’t just happen though. Some of them came naturally, others I faked to look good to “the church” and others I simply ignored. My connection to the vine sometimes feels strong, other times I think I’m a branch that is withering.
There have been times in my life I have faced consequences for not bearing some of this fruit that came like punishment (discipline). In recent years though I have been given the opportunity to get real training (discipline) in how to actually live out my walk with God. Men have taken the time to teach me skills (disciplines) that are helping me learn that my faith can be both practical and relevant to be successful (disciplined) as a Kingdom Man. As I walk with God he takes all the brokenness that he forgave at the cross and starts to wash it off of me, he props me up when I feel like I’ve failed and shows me not only His love but better ways to grow and flourish - to bear fruit, which is God's description of Victory in our lives. This is exactly what an actual vinedresser does with a branch that has fallen off the trellis in a vineyard.
Those fruits of the Spirit now become more and more of who I am and not just a list of what I should do. The incredible bonus is that I have learned that I can teach these same disciplines to other Kingdom Men who can then teach them to other Kingdom Men (2 Timothy 2:2). This creates another completely different kind of fruit that I believe God expects from us - the fruit of the changed lives of others simply because we share our lives with them. You are called to pass on the victory of good discipline to others.
Daily Battle Order
Inspect your fruit today. Make a list of the fruits of the Spirit and ask yourself, and God, how they are growing in your life. This might feel a little like punishment to a few of us. Then flip the paper over and write down the ways, and maybe the people God has used to bring some holy training into your life. Finally, write down 4 or 5 people you want to intentionally pass some God given lessons on to over the next week (a simple start might just be sharing these Battle Orders). The discipline of victorious Kingdom Man living won’t happen all at once, but discipline begins with the next step. So take it.