“Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)
I grew up in a household where this scripture was not practiced; however, God had His hand on my life and used other Godly people as “mentors” to influence and encourage me in my walk with the Lord.
In December, 2013, our 15-year old dog, Buddy, died and we adopted a 9-month old black-lab mix, Toby, from our local Humane Society. Even when we use repetitive disciplinary commands, he doesn’t always listen, especially when he is excited. He often forgets those commands and continues to:
. jump the outside gate, even with ropes above it
. jumps up and barks at the front door at every little noise
. jumps on our bed and/or couch to chase the cat
He needs to be reminded of the word “no” when he misbehaves but he also needs loving reassurance when he behaves well. Sometimes our lives are like that when we desire one thing and the Lord has something else in mind for us.
Discipline creates self-control in every area of our lives, but we need to learn the basics as stated in Proverbs 22:6. Other scriptures (NIV translation) that mention self-control and give us guidelines on this issue are as follows:
. Proverbs 16:22: “Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.”
. Proverbs 25:28: “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.”
Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
. Titus 2:11-14: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeems us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”
. II Peter 1:3-8: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Matthew 28:19 and Mark 16:15, known as The Great Commission, is a command given to Christ’s disciples: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV) For the disciples, this command took a great deal of discipline and self-control on their part; but because of their love for Christ, they followed Christ’s command. However, many of them suffered and were martyred for their beliefs and experienced excruciating deaths.
The fates of many of Jesus’ disciples are listed below:
1. Matthew: Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, killed by a sword wound.
2. Mark: Died in Alexandria, Egypt, after being dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead.
3. Luke: He was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the lost.
4. John: He faced martyrdom when he was boiled in a huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered from death and was sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos.
5. Peter: He was crucified upside down on an X-shaped cross. According to church tradition, it was because he told his tormentors that he “felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus died.”
6. James the Just: The leader of the church in Jerusalem, was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death.
7. James the Great: Son of Zebedee, was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to lifetime ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem. One of the Roman guards watched as James defended his faith and as he was overcome with conviction, he declared his new faith and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.
8. Bartholomew: Also known as Nathaniel. He was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed our Lord in present day Turkey. He was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.
9. Andrew: He was crucified on an X-shaped cross in Patras, Greece.
10. Thomas: He was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the sub-continent.
11. Jude: He was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.
12. Matthias: The apostle chosen to replace traitor Judas Iscariot and was stoned to death and beheaded.
13. Paul: He was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters became the foundational doctrines of Christianity and form a large portion of the New Testament.
The disciples were martyred for their beliefs and preaching the Salvation message. We may never be martyred for speaking the truth, but our lives should exemplify His truth in our actions toward one another. It is not about “living up to certain standards”–but it is about allowing God to “be our standard.”
John 13: 34-35 says: “A new commandment I give you. Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (NIV) This is what being a Christian is all about.
Blessings on you,
Reading: “The Power of a Praying Wife” and “The Power of a Praying Woman” by Stormie Omartian