SEVENTH SEAL LIBRARY

God's Truth Not Smooth Words

World Needs More Self-Control

Self-Discipline

©copyright 2007 Bonita M Quesinberry, R.C.

  

To all who love the Lord: “God shows us our erroneous works amid humanity and our exceeding sins against Him. He opens our ears to discipline and commands that we turn from iniquity. If we disobey, then we will perish according to the sword of His Word, thus die without ever having gained God’s knowledge” (Job 36:9-10,12). God says much about learning to exercise self-discipline, self-control of our thoughts and actions— an obligatory feature sorely lacking in far too many professed Christians today.

 

First, review the definitions of this lesson’s key words, followed with God’s Word on this vital component to becoming one chosen for heaven and Christ’s kingdom thereafter:

 

DISCIPLINE: n. 2. training that develops self-control, character, or orderliness and efficiency. 3. the result of such training; self control; orderly conduct. 4. acceptance of or submission to authority and control. 5. a system of rules or methods, as for the conduct of members of a monastic order. 6. treatment that corrects or punishes. v.t. [Disciplined, Disciplining], 1. to subject to discipline; train; control. 2. to punish. –SYN. see punish. —Webster’s New World Dictionary, Collegiate Edition

PUNISH: v.t. 1. cause (a person) to undergo pain, loss, or suffering for a crime or wrongdoing. 2. impose a penalty on a wrongdoer for an offense. [‘discipline’ suggests punishment intended to control or establish habits of self-control; ‘correct’ suggests punishment for the purpose of overcoming faults; ‘chasten’ is to punish in order to correct or make better, to restrain from excess, subdue; and is used especially in a theological sense (“God chastens and hastens His will to be made known” [Webster’s quote, possibly paraphrased from Isaiah 16:5; nevertheless, this is a  logic found  throughout the Bible]). —Webster’s New World Dictionary, Collegiate Edition

 

Revelation 3:19 finds Father telling us that He reprimands and corrects those whom He loves; therefore, we should be adamantly determined to admit, then cease doing any and all sins He points out to us while growing up into His righteousness. I Corinthians 11:32 and Hebrews 12:6 reassures us that, when Father corrects us, it IS because He loves us; it is meant to protect us from being condemned with the world when Christ brings God’s sentencing phase of judgment.

 

The above verses refer to the fact that infant Christians might continue in sin unaware, due to not knowing or understanding the weightier matters of His Law; which Christ mentioned those ‘weightier matters’ as needing to be taught. Still, God will show us where and how we err, whether it be through His Written Word or by one of His teachers; after which He expects us to repent.

 

This is a growth process referred to scripturally as beginning with milk of salvation’s basics, when we first become a Christian, then maturing to the solid food of weightier matters. Thus, it is better to be corrected and/or punished now than to fall dead at the brightness of Christ’s coming; as will the wicked and filthy who continue to refuse sound doctrine when given to them, thus they also reject God’s correcting rod.

 

Right about now, there likely are many shouting, “Christ died for ALL of our sins— past, present and future— therefore we are not corrected or punished after accepting Jesus. Jesus did that for us on the cross!” There is a tremendous difference between correcting punishment and eternal deadly punishment. Romans 3:25 and Isaiah 53:5 clearly confirm that our Messiah died for ONLY our ‘past’ sins; those we had committed prior to accepting Christ as both God’s Son and our Saviour.

 

Therefore, God made provision for infant Christian’s who might continue in sin unaware; which is virtually every person who initially comes to the Lord. There is not one denomination teaching God’s Law, not as a necessary component to proving our love for the Lord and by which to learn and employ righteousness, muchless teaching the Law’s weightier matters. Thus, each infant should hope and pray for anointed, taught-by-no-man, teachers who have matured to solid food and from whom we can learn how to become pure before the Lord; that we might be presented as virgins to our perfect Groom.  

 

How does God show us our works and sins? II Samuel 7:14-15 renders evidence using King David. “If you commit iniquity, I will punish you with the rod of men and with the stripes of the children of men: but my mercy shall not depart away from you.” Jeremiah 2:19 clarifies the rod and stripes, “Your own wickedness shall correct you and your backslidings shall accuse you when you wander and play the harlot.” Play the harlot? If, after claiming to love the Lord, thus supposedly becoming one with Him, then we thereafter violate God’s Law, in effect we have committed adultery against Him: thus, acting like a harlot.

 

Clearly, if we have been taught God’s Law of Righteousness, together with many passages teaching its weightier matters, and we nevertheless turn to unrighteous behaviour, our own sins should cause us to feel guilt and shame; thus, ultimately God punishes us through mankind, whether it be that another person brings adversity upon us and/or the laws of the land punish us.

 

Psalm 39:11 continues, “When God rebukes a man, it corrects his iniquity, and God makes his beauty to consume away like a moth.” Jeremiah 30:11, “I will correct you according to MY judgments and will not leave you unpunished; though I will not make a full end of you.” As Proverbs 22:15 points out, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive foolishness from him.”

 

EXAMPLES: Say a Christian adult is not a good steward of money God has made available for him or her to earn and live on; this person will quickly become debt-ridden, perhaps lose a home or car or more. His or her own sin should correct them, if they truly love God and Christ, for such love will cause them to seek a way to overcome irresponsible behaviour. We are, after all, taught to be not only good stewards of what God gives us but to also be good stewards of our employer’s business.

 

God’s Commandment says, “Thou shalt not steal.” Even if it is something as simple as a pen from work that one has taken or a pen not returned to a cashier, it IS a violation of God’s Law. If this person is a Christian, they should become riddled with guilt thus fear retribution. AND, it just might be that God will send the “rod of man,” which could be someone who breaks into this Christian’s home and steals all of their valuables— in exchange for a ninety-nine cents pen? The punishment, however, could be one of a variety of events, such as the loss of one’s job; not just the example given here.

 

While drinking alcohol is not a sin in itself, God says the drunkard shall not enter heaven’s gates. If we look at the life of a person currently consumed by addictions— which does violate God’s admonition of moderation but most notable is that addictions cause the addicted to violate one or more of God’s Ten Precepts— we find all manner of afflictions in such a person’s life and body: loss of livelihood, loss of home and health, loss of spouse and family and friends; the addiction might even cause a car wreck that kills another or him or her to steal in order to support his or her addition: the addicted will go to jail.  

 

Christ stated that it will be harder for a rich man to enter the gates of heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. If a wealthy person gained their riches through illicit and/or unethical means, or say they do not care for those less fortunate than themselves and/or they treat their employees poorly, the rich might ultimately lose all they have. According to prophecy, they will lose everything, IF they do not repent of unrighteous ways: Christ’s directive was “sell all you have and give it to the poor, then follow in My footsteps.” ~~end of examples, yet there are many, many more.

 

If we think back over our lives, look at sins we’ve committed, then review various adversities that followed our sins, it should be clear how God brings to our attention our erroneous works amid humanity and our sins against God and man. Once reviewed with brutal honesty, we then must make a choice.

 

God wants us to review our sins according to what God calls sin, confess each violation, then repent and thereafter sin no more. We should understand, however, that not all adversities and afflictions are necessarily for punishment to better us; rather, some events might occur to test of our faith in God, believe He will see us through, such as Job: review a previous lesson entitled “Is Healing of a Christian’s Body a Given,” which includes a treatise of Paul’s “thorn in the side,” among other key Bible figures.

 

 

Psalm 19:18,20-21 encourages us to “punish our children while there is hope for their salvation and not to despair over their crying when corrected. We are urged to hear this counsel and to receive this instruction, so we may be wise in our latter years; for, in the end, only the Lord’s counsel will stand.” God doesn’t speak to hear Himself heard; nay, He accepts and uses His own counsel when it comes to His children: chastising and correcting and, if necessary, even punishing us for wrong doings until we change. Notice “until” we change; thus, we should be with our children.

 

Daniel 10:12 points out that in disciplining ourselves before the Lord— which is to humbly confess our sins, repent, repay to those whom we have offended, as required, and to request His mercy upon us: reminiscent of the tax collector’s behaviour as he stood in the Holy Temple along with one of the Pharisees in Luke 18:9-14 — we are assured that our words are heard by God and He will send the Holy Spirit to us as we need Him. II Corinthians 6:2 confirms God saying, “I will hear you at the appropriate time, and in the day of salvation I will help you. Behold, now is the time and now is the day of salvation.”

 

II Corinthians 6:9 and Hebrews 12:10 verify that God does chasten His children but we are not killed by His punishment; rather, we are corrected to make us better, more righteous. Our Father does this for our profit that we might share in His holiness. The Lord is clear that, if we are not chastised, it is because we are not His son or daughter: therefore, we should rejoice in His correction; despite the fact that being punished is not a pleasant thing, rather a painful event, but it will yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness in those who are trained by God. Think on this when it comes to training and correcting our own children: as God said, “Spare the rod and ruin the child.”

 

Psalm 94:12 further reveals another benefit of being corrected by God, “Blessed is the person whom God chastens and teaches him from God’s Law.” Job 5:17 adds, “Happy is the man whom God corrects: therefore do not despise the Almighty’s discipline.”

 

Concerning God’s correction, Jeremiah 31:18 should urge us to take on Ephraim’s attitude: “The Lord has chastised me like taking a whip to a bull unaccustomed to a yoke; He has turned me and I shall be turned: for God is the Lord my God.” We should want God to correct us, for we might not recognize when we are offending His righteousness, despite the fact one of His prophets may have warned us; we should want Him to turn us away from sin, from all things that He finds abhorrent. If we don’t want God’s discipline and correction, then we do not love God and Christ; for only in perfect love do we truly wish to please our Father Creator and Lord Saviour, in perfect love begging to be shown our flaws and wayward behaviours so we might change them.

 

Warnings: indeed, God does warn us before punishing us. In properly training errant children, the first thing a parent should do is to adamantly state to the child what is acceptable behaviour followed by citing what punishment can be expected if he or she disobeys the rules. Therefore, the teaching serves as also a warning; punishment to come thereafter, if the child rebels the first time against those lessons: never should parents withhold discipline by allowing the child to commit the offense numerous times. To withhold is to teach a child that the parent is a liar and it becomes a game the kid uses against such parents while they teach the child to lie. “Spare the rod, ruin the child.” A first offense, following appropriate teaching, should result in punishment.

 

Thus it is that God sends His prophets to warn us when we err from a lack of knowledge; in other words, His prophet explains what God expects of us and what we can expect if we continue to disobey God. To continue in disobedience then cause God to punish us and continue to punish us in various ways UNTIL we repent of the error in our ways OR it becomes too late for repentence; which ever comes first. However, becoming too late is quickly approaching. Nevertheless, God performed in this manner throughout the ancient days and still does so today. God does not change and neither has His requirements of those He calls sons and daughters.

 

II Timothy 3:16-17 tells us how we can go about teaching and correcting self: “ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, and it is profitable for doctrine, for criticism, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness; so that a person of God may become perfect, completely prepared to do all good works.” Therefore, Romans 15:14 declares that, by learning and using God’s Word, we become filled with goodness and knowledge:  thus able to teach, guide, and warn one another.

 

I Thessalonians 5:12-15 urges us to recognize and acknowledge those who do work among us as teachers, to treat them with respect and to love them for the work they do for our sake. And, we are further urged that there be peace among our brethren.

 

God’s teachers, or prophets as it were, are instructed to: warn any brethren that is disobedient; to comfort those who are indecisive; to support the weak in health; and, to be patient toward all of mankind, both good and bad. II Thessalonians 3:14-15 further instructs that, if a brother or sister disobeys God’s Word, the teacher is to not keep company with him or her as a way of shaming the brother or sister. Yet, the teacher is not to consider him or her an enemy; rather, warn him or her as a brother or sister.

 

However, in warning brothers and sisters in Christ, teachers also are directed to warn a brother or sister no more than twice; for if he or she does not amend his or her ways in accordance with the first or second warning; then, as Titus 3:10-11 advises, if this brother or sister continues in sin after being warned up to twice, it is because his or her mind is perverted.

 

No matter how many ways we might phrase God’s Truth, God’s teachers cannot convert a person with a perverted mind; thus after the second admonition, we are to reject this person as a brother or sister. It is in cases such as this that we must remind self that only “God chooses whom He will to follow His Son.” We cannot and must not ever attempt to make God’s choices: for He knows the heart of this person, which we cannot know. To continue beyond a second warning is to assume the role of God: idolatry the crime.

 

The only thing we can come to know about a person to whom we witness is whether or not his or her mind is perverted. Upon determining perversion, we simply must reject and walk away, based on the added fact that not all who appear to be sheep are truly sheep: many are wolves, or Satan’s goats as it were, masquerading in sheep’s clothing.

 

We should want to learn by instruction rather than by God’s correction; the former is painless while the latter can be very painful. Remember, as a child, Mom or Dad had to spank you for misbehaving? It hurt, whereas you would have suffered no pain if you had chosen to follow instructions. The same methods apply to our Almighty Father, except as an infinite Spirit being He applies discipline in a far different and much greater way. 

We also should learn by Israel’s example, the things that happened to them for their disobedience against God, as stated in I Corinthians 10:11; for we are the ones upon whom the end of the world is about to occur. If we desire to be taken up to heaven when Christ arrives, then it definitely is in our best interest to be adamantly determined not to duplicate Israel’s sins against God; yet, this is precisely what man’s incorporated Christian denominations teach us to do by having changed God’s Law and incorporating into this flawed doctrine many pagan rituals and festivals. We should obey God, instead of man­­—  Acts 5:29.

 

The bottomline is that true Christians and teachers exercise self-control, as noted in II Timothy 3:1-9; those who lack self-control are spoken of in II Timothy 4:3-5 as not enduring sound doctrine, rather seeking teachers to satisfy their lusts of the flesh, easily turning from God’s Truth to teachers of fiction and who use very little scripture to validate their ways. God’s teachers prove their teachings by every word of God, as noted in verse 5, and they live by every word of God as an example to follow. Recall that Jesus said to follow Him and Paul followed Christ, then Paul said, “Follow me.” To follow Paul’s example is to follow Christ’s example. 

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 quite clearly states the heart of this thing called self-discipline: “Fear God and keep His Commandments, for this is the whole duty of mankind. For God shall bring every man’s work into judgment, determining whether it is good or whether it is evil.” I Thessalonians 4:4 clearly tells us that, if we have “The Mind of Christ,” we should be able to control our own vessels, the behaviour of our own bodies and the words we speak. These admonitions are confirmed in Revelation 12:17, 14:12, and 22:14, along with the added instruction of having the faith of and in Jesus Christ.

 

With “The Mind of Christ,” we can control our behaviour and reject the temptation of sin each time it pops up. However, an infant Christian does not yet have Christ’s mind; which is gained through consistent growth in God’s Word. Albeit, a true infant Christian should possess perfect love within, which initially motivates obedience-by-choice that, ultimately, reaps “The Mind of Christ.” This Christian will be eager to heed the teachings and warnings of those mature in God’s Word. Be aware, however, that there is a huge difference between being mature in God’s Word— via anointing of the Holy Spirit, thus having been taught by no man— and that of having been taught in men’s seminaries to learn man’s commandments and traditions: the two are miles apart, an unfathomable distance between truth and lies, between eternal life and twice dead.

 

The opposite is true of those who, by rejecting God’s teachers, also do not have “The Mind of Christ:” instead, they tend to seek out teachers who say what they want to hear in support of their chosen lifestyle and who teach that man cannot become perfect; thus these continue in myriad sins while accusing others and excusing themselves in Christ’s name as well as going about persecuting the Lord’s teachers, just as the ancients did to Christ. What does the Bible say is sin? According to I John 3:4-6, sin is to transgress, violate, disobey God’s Ten Commandments, as set out by God’s own finger upon stone in Exodus 20:3-17 then given again in Deuteronomy 5:7-14,16-21. 

Those who continue in sin have neither the motivation of perfect love within, thus are riddled with fears, nor do they possess “The Mind of Christ.” Where do you stand in obedience; and, who have you chosen for teachers? Continuing in sin is to declare one’s own death sentence. Accepting godly instruction coupled with self-discipline represent the comfortable route to heaven.

 

How has your way been working for you; and, what does your future promise to date? If it doesn’t look good, then discipline your self to God’s way.

 

~~ end Sabbath Lesson 02/17/07

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17 February 2007 - Posted by | Bible, Bible Related Articles, Bible Study, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Church, Escatology, Faith, Fathers, God, Grace, Groom, Holy Spirit, Husband, Husbands, Jehovah, Jesus, Lord's Day, Love, Memorial, Parenting, Prophets, Redemption, Religion, Remnant, Resurrection, Sabbath, Salvation, Saturday, Self Help, Spiritual, Spiritual Study, Teachers, Ten Commandments, Testimonies, Theology, Truth, Wives

5 Comments »

  1. I just want to mention I am just beginner to blogs and absolutely savored this blog site. Probably I’m likely to bookmark your website . You really come with amazing articles. Kudos for sharing with us your blog.

    Comment by Latricia Wikert | 16 February 2011 | Reply

  2. Praise the Lord, Steve! 🙂 God is ever faithful to show us where we err and I know you are so thankful that He does. He is good and awesome!

    And, thank you so much for your prayers concerning my upcoming move and the current lack of funds to do so. I know that our Lord is preparing the way for me, down the road ahead of me. He always has and I’m so grateful that I can rely on Him and so humbled that He always takes care of me through thick and thin. Praise the Lord!

    Good to see you, dear brother!

    Much love and hugs 🙂
    Sis BonnieQ

    Comment by bonnieq | 26 February 2007 | Reply

  3. Praise God! Your article has awakened me to confessing and turning away from a sin that I’ve been commiting and neglecting to admit. Thanks for putting this out there. Oh do take this moment to give glory to God for this! I’m hoping and praying that God may guide you out of the financial troubles that you are facing.

    In God’s love,

    Steve.

    Comment by Steve | 25 February 2007 | Reply

  4. Thank you so much, Cumby, for sharing your testimony. As you noted, it takes determination and self-discipline to overcome all the ills of this world. Naturally, even then we would never succeed without our awesome Father and His Christ. Yep, when we have the Lord all that suffering makes us stronger and draws us closer to Him. Still, I cringe when I think back on my history, broken hearted that I so offended our Father.

    Thank you so much for the encouragement to keep on speaking God’s Truths! And, you do the same, dear brother.

    Much love in Christ 🙂
    BonnieQ

    Comment by bonnieq | 21 February 2007 | Reply

  5. Excellent teaching, BonnieQ!

    As a man who struggled with addictions, alcohol-drugs-smoking, during my youth; I had to suffer to overcome those habits. But in that suffering, self-discipline was practiced and matured and has helped me all throughout life.

    It is interesting to note that when the Bible speaks of blessings and punishments; they usually always come through people:

    Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure– pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”

    This speaks of anything that we give, good or bad.

    Comment by cumby | 20 February 2007 | Reply


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