Discipline as discipleship

May 15, 2018

As I recently prepared a conference for parents on discipline in the home, I was reminded of how Jesus used discipline to prepare His disciples for the life he needed them to live after He ascended back to the Father.

The root word of discipline is “disciple” – meaning to teach and provide opportunities to learn. The disciples were immature in their growing belief in Jesus as the Messiah. They had no precedent for what it meant to be a follower of Christ. Every day was a learning lab of trial and error and memorable lessons to learn and apply.

We know that Jesus discipled his followers by example, modeling, questions, stories, conversations, assignments and Scripture. He also had occasion to disciple through discipline. Three Bible stories demonstrate how Jesus used discipline to disciple His followers.

In Mark 10:35-45, James and John dared to ask Jesus to “do whatever we ask of you.” As parents, we sometimes think that our children expect the same from us. James and John wanted to sit at the left and right hand of Jesus in glory. Jesus response was not one of derision, but one that taught the disciples what it means to be a follower of Jesus. They were to be servants to all, not royalty to be worshipped. Jesus reminded them that His purpose was to serve and give His life as a ransom for many. Would this kind of teaching be your first response when your children challenge your authority?

In Matthew 14:22-33, the disciples witness Jesus walking on the water. Peter’s request to join Jesus’ walk was met with a simple command, “come.” As Peter approached Jesus, he lost focus and began to sink. He cried out for rescue. Matthew 14:31 relays Jesus’ reply to Peter, “you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Have you ever considered the tone of voice Jesus used as He said these words to Peter? Was he sarcastic, angry or gentle in word and tone? What tone of voice do you use when you children fail in their attempts to try something new? Peter’s encounter with water-walking led to a gospel encounter and prompted all the disciples to worship Jesus as the Son of God.

John 21:15-22 recounts one of the most touching, impactful stories in the Gospels. Peter had a devastating failure by denying his relationship with Jesus three times as Jesus was on trial for His life. The guilt and shame of his actions could have crushed Peter. Jesus again used Peter’s failure to disciple, restore and return Peter to the mission that Jesus had chosen for him. Three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him. By the third time this question was asked, Peter was broken and ready for healing, restoration and obedience.

There will be times when our children fail in ways we can’t imagine today. Our own shame, frustration, anger and disappointment could overwhelm our response to our children. Jesus knew Peter had punished himself for his failure, and it was time to restore their relationship. Peter was open and vulnerable to Jesus in ways he may not have been in the past. Jesus used this opportunity to disciple and challenge Peter to follow Him with a deeper commitment.

As you parent your children, Scripture guides and directs us. The goal of our discipline should always be an opportunity to teach in a way that leads to self-discipline and a closer relationship with Christ.


by Cheryl Markland  
/  Childhood Evangelism and Discipleship  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

Churches are meant to reproduce

Church Planting N.C.’s (CPNC’s) core values focus on deepening relationships with planters and reproducing churches. Previously, we explored our first core value “tribe.” Now let’s explore our second core value which is “reproduce.” Churches are meant to reproduceDuring my early...

The treasure of tribe

Mass shootings, political strife, threats of war, the daily onslaught on the soul of our children — say what you will, but our world is rapidly changing, if not declining. With so much uncertainty in our world, one thing remains steady and sure: America desperately needs Jesus,...

What’s your ‘why’ in children’s ministry?

As a children’s minister, I excelled at checking off my daily to-do list. If someone needed markers, tape or Goldfish, I was the one to call. As I reflect on the years I spent on a church staff, one major downfall I admit is the lack of vision I had. Having a vision would have...

Is your ‘one’ a child?

As Southern Baptists, we are being called to ask ourselves a question: “Who’s Your One?” Who is the one person you can pray for, build a relationship with and have an ongoing gospel conversation with? Who is one person you can focus on who needs a saving relationship with Jesus...

Why we need more churches

Do we really need more churches?As one who leads church planting efforts for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC), you would expect my answer to unequivocally be “Yes and amen!” But I also realize that I live in “church-planting world.”Daily, I find myself...

How you can benefit from church planter training

Planting a church is not an easy endeavor. It’s not for the faint of heart. Church planters face a variety of challenges and pressures that are often unique to your calling. There’s emotional pressure, financial pressure and not to mention spiritual pressure. These burdens can...

Celebrate ‘God’s Great Work’

It’s hard to believe, but this year’s annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) is only three months away. Planning for this year’s meeting has actually been going on for many months as a group of North Carolina Baptists who make up our Committee on...

Is the church bubble really safe?

Many church-goers assume that a safety bubble exists at their church and is the one place where their children will always be safe. Unfortunately, a quick perusal of the evening news tells a different story of abuse happening in both large and small church settings. According to...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the latest news and event information by signing up for the Childhood Ministry newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!