This lies within the study on the Apostles Creed. To examine God as Father is multifaceted, because of this, this blog post is a continuation of the exposition of the Apostles Creeds statement, “I believe in God the Father.”
The early church saw an idea of God as Father as a multidimensional idea. Not only just as a father figure but an ideal image of what an earthly father should be for his family. The Apostles Creed states God as Father, showing that the church had not onlt an idea as God as Creator, but God as personally involed in their lives.
What is Discipline in Relation to the Fatherhood of God?
Parents do their children a favor when they are disciplined, even if the discipline was a severe. However, the idea of rearing disciplining or chastising children is frowned upon in “modernized society”. Many excuses now exist why corporal punishment is ineffective, trauma, regressive morality, self autonomy, it is now endless what is wrong about corporal punishment.
My purpose is not to focus on why corporal punishment should be still a valid way of discipline. Instead, my desire is to clarify the need for us to not look at the idea of discipline or disciplining as a negative practice.
There is an urgency in the present time for men and women to be once again those who seek the benefits of being made into people of discipline. What is seen most often in the modern notion of having someone be discipline is that the person is found to be oppressed, that a person is found to be lifeless, limited, with lack of freedom. This is distant to the reality of, and is the opposite, of what the benefits of discipline are.
There is a difference between being disciplined and to be disciplined (to be disciplined is not necessarily to be punished).
A man or woman who seeks the state of being of a disciplined individual seeks over all things, to be truly free. The idea of being a disciplined person is with the purpose of developing a level of mental maturity to later be able to enjoy the benefits of being able to do what their goal is without limitations. For example: an athlete trains not only their physical muscles to be able to perform for a specific sport or task but also train their mindset for when the physical aspect of their strength is lacking, they can push through and perform to the best of their ability. That is the freedom that is sought through discipline. The freedom that brings out the inner strength when the physical body can not support the burden of the task demanded. What type of discipline is demanded of an athlete? Not only working out certain muscles on certain days, but also to measure food, examine food groups, strict sleeping patterns, early lonesome mornings before the coach arrives, mental meditation that bring the reality of their goal into perspective, morning noon and night. All that for an hour of performance every week.
To be disciplined, the action of being molded, that is even more strenuous.
To be molded and shaped to the measure of those who know an individual can render more is even more of a task. To have self-discipline is necessary but to be shaped to an objective standard is much more gruesome.
Parting from the human allegory I move to where my intention is found, the discipline of the Father. To be shaped and molded through either temporal punishment for sin or higher expectations of holiness, God the Father is one who reproves those whom he loves (Proverbs 3:12).
The expectation of the Father is for us to be like Christ, conformed to his image and his likeness. Not specifically to be to the state of perfection, but instead to be to the degree of holiness as the only begotten of the Father is. We must not fear at the idea of reaching the degree of holiness as Christ was, for Paul states that this is only the Lords doing (Romans 8:29). A one centimeter line may be just as straight as a one meter line but it may not be the same length. Maybe to the magnitude of Christ’s merit is there no possibility for us, however to the same degree, that should be our goal.
It is a joy for us to be found worthy to receive the discipline of the Lord. It not only shows us that we are loved, but also that we are not to be abandoned midway through our time in the training, discipline and shaping of the Lord. It is our joy to claim to the promises that Paul stated to the Philippians church, that the good work that God had started in them, He himself will be the one to perfect it until the culmination and consummation of time.
The Lord disciplines, shapes, chastises, corrects, those whom he loves for the purpose of accomplishing freedom to serve him as Christ honored is father.
Check out my other meditation of the Apostles Creed.