Headlines of the day: “Mt. St. Helens Erupts Again!” “One Million Ethiopians Face Starvation!” “Soviet’s Expected Wheat Crop of 230 Million Tons Reduced by Weather to 180 Million Tons!” “Daily Rate of Abortions in the 1,000’s!” “U.S. Dollar Declines Again on World Market!”
Almost everything you hear and read in the secular media these days somehow speaks of a world of man that is coming apart at the seams. Politically, governmentally, financially, morally, our world seems to be spinning out of control. Young men and women could be tremendously downcast with such an environment in which to enter with plans for marriage, or bringing forth children; or even to commit oneself to a body of people who call themselves “church” with others overseeing their lives. It has to be discouraging to those outside of a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
How about those who have come to the Lord? Is it any different? Well, we are encouraged by some of the things we see occurring with the present generation of young men and women who are now moving into the forefront of leadership among God’s people.
In a society that is almost in total disarray, a “new” word is coming forth with greater and greater frequency. That word is DISCIPLINE! It’s a word that most young people have sought to avoid – at great cost – because it holds such limited application for them. Ask any young person what “discipline” means and he will speak of rules of limitation and punishment. In the reality of our language, the word carries with it so much more than we have been willing to apply or able to understand. Let’s take a look at what the Scriptures do with the word “discipline”.
Incidentally, the word was not used in some of the older translations with as broad a spectrum as most of the new translations of the Bible. First, take a look at the word “discipline” as Paul used it in his second letter to Timothy – 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-DISCIPLINE.” The original language used here speaks of “saving the mind”. So rather than referring to a set of rules or to punishment, DISCIPLINE here talks about something deeper. . .attitudes, thinking, reactions. In another place Paul writes about the renewing of the mind. (Romans 12:2). By transformation. . .changing the mind-set from a “conformity to this world” to an entirely different pattern of thought.
From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Number 5, November 1980.