i have to admit that i have yet to truly appreciate and appropriate discipline.
Yes, there are the more 'obvious' aspects like taking care of my health, in particular my eating habits and exercise routine (or the lack of it) and sleep practices (or again the lack of them)...
But these aspects while important (and i'm in no way making excuses for myself) are not as pertinent and crucial as the more 'subtle' and almost unquantifiable aspects... like obedience.
See, when i was a 'younger' Christian... discipline came more from the part of God. He would 'teach' and 'rebuke' and 'chastise' as He saw fit and appropriate out of the deepest love possible for me, His child, through sometimes difficulties and problems and disappointments or even sometimes through simply allowing me to bear the 'consequences' of my own actions and mistakes while giving me the grace to do so.
God was (and still is) like that parent who says 'No' and follows-through with a feel of the 'rod' when his toddler misbehaves.
But i believe like all children there comes a time as the child grows-up where such methods are not necessary or even effective anymore.
Any earthly parent can tell you that there is point in a child's life (in some cases even up to the late teens) when 'spanking' and telling them 'No' just ain't gonna cut it.
Children grow up.
Whether they do so in every appropriate and expected and even needed aspect is another issue altogether but at the very least it has to be said that at least physically speaking... they grow up.
And i believe the same goes when it comes to our relationship with God, our Abba Father....
There comes a point when, for our own sakes and our own 'development' in Him, He purposefully and intentionally 'refrains' from using His rod. There comes a time in our walk with Him, as we seek to mature (and i'm certain He wants us to, all the more) and move on from being just 'children' to becoming 'sons', that discipline can't just come from Him but has to come from us.
We need to decide to discipline ourselves.
We need to begin to take responsibility for our own course of action.
Our obedience to Him needs to stem forth from our own commitment and adherence to Him.
Yes, He embraces us and yes, He upholds us, and yes, it is by His grace.... but the time will come (and in many instances has already) that we need to stand on our own two feet so to speak and make a decision and follow-through with action on our own accord.
Not needing to have Him hold our hand.
Surely by now we should have learnt already to 'cross the road on our own' right?
Not needing to have Him repeatedly 'beat' our hand when we play with fire cos' surely we should have learnt by now that it burns right?
Yes, it has been proven throughout history as documented in the Bible that His people are a very forgetful bunch... still we should not use them as our excuse neither should we use them as our examples.
Let's look unto Jesus.
The Master of Obedience.
The one who looked at temptation in it's eye and gave it no satisfaction.
The one who stood His ground like no other and made a intentional effort every step of the way and all the way... even to the point of His death at the cross. Every stripe suffered of His own accord. All the pain took upon of His own accord. No one... not even God Himself... forced Him to do it.
He chose. He committed Himself. He disciplined Himself.
And so we take our lead from Him.
The Son Himself.
That we too should discipline ourselves...
... for His sake.
And not always the other way around.