DISCIPLINE IN THE CHURCH
by Samuel Akinola
“You might yelp at the slice of the whip, but let tomorrow comes, the cause of the whip may make you a better leader.”
I remember the tale of an Old Catholic Rev. in Oregon, USA. The old man had two grown-up sons; though they were still young adult, constant spat among them was giving the old Rev. hard time to cope with. The Reverend was coming from an evening mass that day, the moment he rode his old motorcycle into the compound, then he knew he was in for another tough time with the boys.
The house was alive with screaming and yelling, cursing and punching; the Reverend instantly knew his boys are lock up in another tough brawl. It took him about twenty minutes to pry the tough fighters apart and calmed them; lucky enough not to have been knockeddown by them.
After listening to the course of their fighting for some minutes, he pointed out calmly, “Mark you are wrong, you should not have struck your brother in the first place.”
Mark bites his lips in anger; of course, he knew that he would be the one to be blamedd for everything. “But papa, he started everything up by calling me foul names!” He protested.
“He is your younger brother, Mark, at your age and maturity you should have learnt to tolerate the weakness of your brother. Of course, I would have scolded him if you have not done anything rash and wait for me to come home, and decide everything.”
Mark frowned stubbornly, “he has been doing these for long and what have you done about it? Nothing! Why should I believe you now papa when you always blame me?”
“It should not be every time your brother steps on your toes you should turn the house into the wrestling stage. If you did not learn to tolerate your brother now, how will you ever cope with different kinds of people if you become a leader tomorrow?” Silent prevailed for long.
It should not be a surprising thing to see some of God’s children clashing with each other. Just like the tale of the Reverend above, children of the same father can have sharp contention among themselves, but then God will have to decide the case and enforce discipline in His house, among His children.
This did not mean that the ‘Christian Spirit’ is troublesome or quarrelsome, far be it from it. However, some children of God are like babies in spirits; some are still under the influence of the flesh. Moreover, besides this, Satan loves to cause trouble among God’s children to bring them to the captivity of the flesh.
The book of the Acts of the Apostles 15v39 recorded that there arose sharp contention between Apostle Paul and Barnabas, to the extent that they separated and went different ways. Understand that the scripture did not say that their contention led to violence or hostility, but each of them has a reason not to agree with each other, and they parted not for the sake of the flesh, but to continue their missionary. The ‘Sharp Contention’ the scripture said did not mean violent quarrel among them, they voiced out their minds over Mark, and since they could not agree then they took the best decision and went separate ways. Do not picture this like a violent argument as, among the pagans, they have been together for long in the same missionary, and were men filled with the Holy Spirit. As we all know, were dwells the Holy Spirit there are peace and joy. Therefore, these two men have the right to their wish and they took the better decision, and the brethren commended Paul to the grace of the Lord.
In the house of God, there are many vessels ordained by Him, working according to their grace in Christ Jesus. It is a sad thing that there is too much misunderstanding among various vessels of God in the world today. Some thought and felt that they are better than others are, while some shows that they are much holier than others are. Some believed they are perfect in their teachings and doctrines, and as such did not see anything deficient among them. Most anointed ministers of God today are lord their might over one another, and some workers in the house of God are just showing off for human appraisal. Brethren this is not right, it is not the Spirit of the Christian but the Satan the devil at work.
Lord Jesus made it known that true leaders in Him follow His footsteps by serving in the spirit of humbleness. Besides, not all who claimed anointed vessels of God are true about it, Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruits…” Matt 7v16. God knew His truly anointed vessels, He has appointed each of them according to His will, and He knew how to enforce discipline among them.
God showed His act of discipline in the story of the leadership of Moses in the book of Number 12v1-15. 1Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married … 2And they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it. 3Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all men that were on the face of the earth. 4And suddenly the Lord said to Moses and to Aaron and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting.” And the three of them came out. 5 And the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud, and stood at the door of the tent, and called Aaron and Miriam, and they both came forward. 6And he said, “Hear my words: if there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision, I speak with him in a dream. 7Not so with my servant Moses; he is entrusted with all my house. 8 With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in dark speech; and he beholds the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” 9 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them, and he departed; 10 and when the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, as white as snow … 11And Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord, do not punish us because we have done foolishly and have sinned …”
Very wonderful, God who chosen and ordained His vessels, knew the duty and ability of every each of them; and He is not slow to enforce discipline among them. In the scripture above, Miriam and Aaron have reason to be proud and make Moses inferior to them. Miriam was a prophetess, while Aaron was the ordained priest chosen by God; and both of them were older than Moses in years! Moses was a meek man, having the spirit of gentleness and slows in the use of the tongue. No wonder he endured their pride and taunting without protesting or enraged. God never tolerate pride and boasting in His House, especially among His vessels, since He has assigned each of them to their duty. The act of God in the above scripture by punishing Prophetess Miriam, without regard to her status as a prophetess, shows He is a disciplinary and enforcer of loyalty in His House. Verse thirteen of the scripture tells how Moses pleaded to God on behalf of Miriam who has become leprous. God showed His displeasure at her and ordered her to shut up outside the camp for seven days before God cleansed her leprosy.
Pride and boasting must not thrive among the true anointed ministers of God, Apostle Paul even wrote about this in the book of 1 Corinthians 14v32-33. “And the spirits of prophets are subjected to prophets. For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” If I claimed to be an anointed man of God, but yet nurse grudges or pride against other vessels of God on personal grand or beyond, I should examine myself, Satan is trying to control me or he has done it!
Beloved one of God Almighty, every child of God is unique in His presence; He loves every one of them and shows no partiality. If you are prominent in the House of God, let this not rule over your sense of loyalty and humbleness before God in all your ways. He knew how to judge and discipline His children like a caring Father, and He will show no preferential treatment to anyone of them but judge them according to who they are before Him.