When an 8 year old boy decides to teach a Sunday School lesson on discipline, you know you're in for a treat. Nathan's Sunday School teacher decided to give her kids the opportunity and experience of teaching a class lesson, and Nathan was among those who volunteered. I asked what it was he wanted to teach, and he replied, "Discipline." Asked what he thought that meant, he said, "It's what happens when you disobey."
He was quite surprised to learn that discipline is also what happens that keeps one from disobeying. He has been working hard on his batting practice; until recently his batting hasn't been exactly stellar, but with the discipline of practice, he has improved immensely. I explained to him that discipline is the hard work we put in when we don't feel like it that keeps us from the disappointment and pain of defeat. He made me think. Discipline is what we do that keeps us from having to endure discipline.
Anything worth doing is worth doing well. And doing it well requires that we discipline ourselves to do what we may not want to do so that we can avoid consequences we don't want to face. The trick is seeing the connection between self-discipline and success, and conversely, seeing the connection between a failure of discipline and the consequences of failure when the test comes. Whether it's a high school student studying to pass finals or a Christian daily studying the Scriptures and engaging in prayer, forgiveness, and compassion, discipline today is what we do to avoid discipline later on. Tonight, I am grateful for my grandson whose desire to teach a lesson on discipline taught me a lesson on discipline.