The Discipline of the Lord {Team Journal}

Today’s team journal was written by our Content Director, Jillian Vincent.

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I’ve been waiting for a miracle. God has made me a mother to four small children who need everything from me, including a lot of discipline. I’ve come to the Lord and fasted over my inadequacies. I’ve asked for prayer. I’ve struggled a lot, and still do, with the sin of anger in motherhood, and have asked for God to change me on multiple occasions. 

He brought me to this passage in James. 

James 4:6-8 ESV
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

I’ve been praying for His grace and believing it is greater than my failures. I’ve been asking Him to help me resist the devil in the times of my highest temptation. I’ve been trying to pray specifically over the times when I’m most triggered - times when we are rushed to get out the door, times when I’m hangry, times when everyone is crying or needs something, times when my house is a complete disaster. All these situations are times when I find myself most weak and quick to anger. 

As I’ve been meditating on James, however, the Holy Spirit has revealed to me that although I’ve been practicing part of the Scripture, I have neglected to submit to God. This has distanced us instead of allowing me to draw near. I’ve been expecting Him to do all the work, but I haven’t submitted my whole self. Indeed, it is the Holy Spirit that creates change, but it does require submission on my part to do so. 

God is disciplining me for godliness and asking me to submit my phone.

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.
proverbs 12:1 ESV

My phone has become a great distraction  from my children. When I’m present with them, I can decrease the amount of triggers to both their anger, and mine. When I choose to pray instead of reaching for my phone in the quiet moments, I’m drawing near to the Lord, and He is drawing near to me. When I put boundaries on when and how long I can be on my phone, I’m submitting to the discipline of the Lord and saying being with Him is better than whatever FOMO (fear of missing out) I’m experiencing. When I’m with my children, I’m really WITH them, as I’m also accepting the WITHNESS of God. Submitting to God is always to our benefit, as it increases the intimacy we have with Him, and as a result, richens our intimacy with others. Just as my sin affects not just myself, but everyone in my life negatively, I’ve found submission affects not only me, but everyone in my life positively. 

Putting down my phone feels easy on a Monday, when I’m fresh and rested from Sabbath. But it is quite a bit harder by Wednesday when I’m tired and realizing I’ve been relying on my own strength. When we are disciplined by the Lord, we also become dependent on Him. I have realized how weak I am, but I also see everyday how strong the Lord is. Day by day, He changes me as I am dependent on Him. What grace. 

As He has been disciplining me in this specific way, I’ve started to realize other areas in my life I need His discipline. I’ve been submitting my time and my budget. As a result, confession has increased, and I’m really humbled by the reality of my sin and the dumbfounding reality of His grace. Disciplining my children has become less overwhelming as I, too, have been simultaneously submitting to the discipline of the Lord. 

Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness
1 Timothy 4:7b NASB

This is not a journal dedicated to the evils of technology. I believe God intends to use my phone for His glory, which is why He is training me for godliness. I use my phone to ask for prayer, to write thoughts that come to me throughout the day which remind me of the Lord, to take pictures, and yes, to check social media according to some more specific boundaries. We are not under law, but under grace, and this grace compels us to submit to the discipline of the Lord in everything

God, you have my everything. I give you my phone, my time, my money, my relationships, my mothering, my past, present, and future. Thank you for your grace over my failures and for your Holy Spirit’s constant presence with me and power to change my life. Thank you for submitting everything, your very life, so that I could live. I pray these submissions would bless my family and my community and make my life a fragrant offering to You and for You. Thank you, Jesus, for Your discipline.

 

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.
Hebrews 12:5-6 ESV

 

Jillian Vincent loves Jesus. She's a wife, a mother of boys, and a Dayton enthusiast. Jillian currently is a stay at home mama and spends nap times jotting on her blog and discipling other women. She would (almost) die for an avocado, a cup of coffee made by her husband, a novel that makes her cry, and a bouquet of sunflowers.