In the list of the fruit of the Spirt (Gal. 5:22-23) there is one term called “self control” or in some translations “discipline.” Sometimes this Greek word is translated soberness or even being content.
One of the most troubling elements to dealing with many teens and children today is that they do not demonstrate discipline or self control. In many cases they are learning bad habits from their parents.
Looking back over my history with my father I see several times whereby my father exhibited self control and personal discipline. In some cases I believe he is a harder worker and more disciplined person than I am in some areas.
First, I recall that my father was reserved in his corporeal punishment with his children. Dear parent this is crucial that you show the fruit of the Spirit in this area. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom and strength in this area. When dad would discipline us it was rare that he ever did so out of anger. I can’t think of any times to be exact. He was firm, reasonable, and under control when he did discipline us.
Second, my father for the past 35 or 36 years has ran a jewelry store. As with many other stores sometimes people tried to steal from him and rob him. Legally on more than one occasion my father had the legal right to defend himself and use deadly force to stop the criminal. However, my father was not eager to take a person’s life, though he would have if absolutely necessary, and in those times where the opportunity existed he exercised self control and refrained from immediate attack with his own firearm. He exercised his right to defend himself, his store, and his family working in the store with reason and with a balanced view of life.
Third, over the years my father has been reserved in his words and speech. I’m sure he disagrees with many people on many different issues. But he has demonstrated a reserved speech. To be sure, if you ask him what he thinks he will let you know and he will be direct about it. However, he has never made it his hobby to try and correct all of the wrongs that exist by speaking out against all of the wrongs he could have spoken against. This even applies to his family life. In many cases he has given those around him, including his family, the opportunity to fail and learn as they experience life. Sometimes you meet people in life and they have an opinion on every matter and they are sure to make sure their opinion is heard. James 3 has much to say about the tongue and as a parent your role is not to try and correct every wrong by your corrective tongue. It is wise to be reserved an to show restraint by not sharing your opinion or position on every issue that surfaces around you.
Exercising self discipline in life will help your child or children to see what it means to live a disciplined life. I urge you dear parent to pray over this and examine your life. If you have a spouse ask your spouse to examine you and see if you are showing the fruit of the Spirit in regard to self control. Are you reserved and disciplined in the way you speak to others, in the way you discipline your children or even employees if you are a supervisor. I did not mention that aspect above but my father on many occasions had every right and could have terminated employees but he was slow to anger and eager to give second opportunities.
Seek the Lord in this area and ask for him to give you this powerful discipline. It will pay off for you, your family, and your community.
Keith Sherlin, DD; Th.D
Keith Sherlin, DD; Th.D