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Is the Work of Discipline Worth It?

Shepherds in Kenya use the thorny branches of the acacia tree to make a tall, thick sheepfold, guarding their animals from predators. 

God placed a sheepfold around David in the form of boundaries, but David broke out — committing adultery and murder. God responds, “Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you” (2 Samuel 12:11). 

By 2 Samuel 14:25-33, David’s son Absalom had killed his brother for raping his sister. Absalom ran away. When Absalom returned, David refused to see him. So, Absalom set Joab’s barley on fire to get David’s attention. 

The chaos in David’s family was another example of how failing to follow God’s instructions created calamity. When David failed to discipline his children, he was ignoring God’s command to love Him and love others. 

3 Things to Remember About Discipline

  1. We discipline because we love. “The LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in” (Proverbs 3:12). Setting boundaries and holding our children accountable keeps them safe and expresses our love. We may feel rotten, but letting our children do anything they want leads to heartache and the self-centered lifestyle we see in David’s family.
  2. Disciplining our children starts with disciplining ourselves. Leading disciplined lives models discipline for our children. Spend time seeking God’s will through prayer and the Bible. Not addressing a sin might be easier, but it’s selfish and shows a lack of self-discipline.
  3. How we discipline our children can affect generations. If our children don’t respect boundaries, it will be hard for them to set boundaries for their own children. Our families’ legacies start with the decisions we make today. 

Jesus is “the good shepherd” who protects, guides, and provides (John 10). Jesus disciplines us because He loves us. Looking to His example and building barriers in our children’s lives keeps them from danger and provides a loving place where they can learn to follow Jesus.


  • Are you modeling a disciplined life? What’s one step you can take today to model self-discipline?
  • In what area have you failed to discipline or shepherd your children? What is one thing you need to change?

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