We discipline our children hoping that it will lead them in the right direction, but knowing that one day they will have to make choices on their own. I don’t enjoy the disciplinarian role of being a parent.
I have often wondered about the Old Testament. God often feels like a disciplinarian in it. We hear about Him destroying cities, smiting and raining fire and brimstone. He feels much different than the loving God revealed by Jesus. Today the Bible opened to Galatians:
Before faith came, we were held in custody under law, confined for the faith that was to be revealed. Consequently, the law was our disciplinarian for Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a disciplinarian. For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendant, heirs according to the promise.
When we are immature, we need discipline, rules, order to try to keep us on the proper path. The Old Testament is filled with stories of human immaturity. We were not ready for faith alone. As we individually grow, we also go through phases where we need discipline, rules, and order. Sometimes we are not ready for faith alone. We need to be confined by rules so that we are in place for faith to be revealed. But ultimately, like a child, we must grow up and make our own choices. Ultimately we must choose faith. We must choose God. Jesus opened us to faith. He came into the world so that we might have faith. So that we could see and believe. He came into the world to show us love. The love of our Father. Despite all of the times that we deserve discipline, God loves us.
Help me to be a good parent. Help me to set rules and order but also to show love. Help me to have the faith that you have made available. Help me to grow from my immaturity. Thank you Father!