The “Happy” in the Disciplines

Written by Jack Hayford
The “Happy” in the Disciplines

“Grandpa,” the voice spoke cautiously. I started—turning with surprise, just that moment noticing movement from the corner of my eye.

“Oh, Jack!” I inhaled deeply, smiling. “You kinda’ scared me. I didn’t hear you come up the
stairs.” The twelve-year-old seemed embarrassed, surprising me as I was engrossed in my study, so I reached over, patted his shoulder and said, “How’s everything goin’?”

“Okay,” he answered, still somewhat uneasy, then he added, “I wanted to tell you about
something the Lord showed me the other day.”

I nodded toward a chair, signaling, “Pull up over here by me. I’d like to hear about it.” It
was nice to have him in town with his sister, mom and dad (our oldest son) visiting from
Wisconsin. It was two days after Thanksgiving, and as I pushed my chair back from the desk to give him my full attention, I didn’t know I was about to gain yet another reason for being thankful. I invited him to continue.

“What was it the Lord showed you?”

His eyes were bright with excitement, and he started to rush his words as though needing to
hurry (still, I suppose, feeling awkward for having surprised me as he had). “Take your time, Jack,” (he’s named after me!). “I really want to hear what you have to say.” He relaxed a little more in his chair, and then began again.

“Well, the other day I got to thinking about something I read in my devotions. It’s in
Proverbs 12:1, where it says, ‘Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid’.” He quoted the verse from the NIV, then paused. I nodded approvingly, and he went on.

“I was thinking, ‘Why would anyone want to be disciplined?!’ You know what I mean, Grandpa? Like, who would ever love to be punished, or even spanked?”

He could see that I understood his point.

“Then it’s like, all of a sudden,” said Jack, “something happened in my heart. I realized that
if discipline keeps you from doing dumb things—you know, stuff that’s really going to wreck your life, messing you up so all kinds of bad stuff happens—then discipline is really a good thing. And then I felt like I could understand. Grandpa, it made me really want to learn to love discipline.”

He stopped to see if I was following…accepting what he was saying. But I was far more than
“accepting”—I was on the verge of tears.

“Jack, that is absolutely great!”

He read my smile for its intended message—more than mere approval—and my brief handclasp on his knee was more than a warm gesture. I wanted him to know that his insight was not only right, but also it was deep—that it revealed a heart touching on a pivotal issue for any of us who would truly hope to know God. I said as much. As I did, it was a great “happy” for my own soul, and I urged him to elaborate more of how this “moment” in his own soul had happened, more about what he felt it meant to him.

Knowing that he not only loves his Grandpa, but also that he has a special feeling for the
fact that he carries my name, I wanted to be sure Jack sensed that my affirmation was more than
simply a courtesy. For the reality is, that child—on the brink of his teen years—had struck the
chord that produces the prospect for all of us to discover and live a life of harmony: Tune to God’s Word, then be willing to learn His ways—whatever that takes!

All Disciplines Are Blessings

My heart rejoiced! Not only over hearing my grandson relate the Holy Spirit-ignited insight
given to his heart, but even more in seeing his maturing desire to respond to that truth—to commit to its meaning for his daily life. My heart leapt in me as he shared it because I don’t know of anything more important to my whole life in Christ than having early on learned these
two things:

1. Always invite and welcome the Lord’s correction and instruction, and refuse to argue your own “righteousness.”

2. Continually seek and pursue patterns of basic Christian disciplines, even when it seems you may never perfect any of them!

Life’s disciplines are not punishments. Punishment is the friction that “burns our hide” when we move outside the life-flow of God’s best ways for living! All discipline—from the principles
to the corrections when we violate the basics in the principles—is a blessing. To learn, understand, and grow in the disciplines of life is to move in the direction of life’s fullest fruitfulness, fulfillment and joy!

I believe wise leaders will not only pursue discipline in their own lives, but will also answer
the call to cultivate the same grace (not laws) in others. Jesus is the One who calls us to discipleship. And He’s the One who will help us make disciples!

Young Jack, my grandson, “got the picture.” He recognized that at the root of it all, disciplines
are benefits—instruction more than punishment. The keys to learning that instruction are
well established in God’s Word and have been set forth for God’s people in practical principles that we can learn to live in—joyfully!

From Sharpening Your Leading Edge – Moving From Methods to Mindset by Jack Hayford
© 2003, Charisma House, Lake Mary, Florida. The “ten disciplines of the disciple” are expanded in depth in Jack Hayford’s book / DVD, Living the Spirit Formed Life.