Foundational Discipline

by Rabbi

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"Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great." Luke 6:47-49
In the latest blog “Discipline the Joy of Being a Son, I mentioned how I would share on discipline and how the Lord’s correction is so important. Correction for most people is not easily sought after. We live our lives looking for what is most comfortable and what is most familiar. As a general rule, people seek what they know already because it makes them comfortable in some way. The way of the Lord, however; is not always the road most traveled. Salvation is not a path to please ourselves but the truth that pleases our Eternal Father. Yeshua, only sought to please his Father and in doing so it required Yeshua to spend time away from the "distractive" world around him.
Serving the One and Living God for a Hebrew would have required several things. Achieving closeness with God, primarily was for character refinement. Spiritual growth began with accepting the yoke of God’s Word. It was believed then and remains still that all wisdom is contained in the true Torah. Every commandment fosters human perfection and in doing so distances any threat to that perfection. There is constant change taking place in the improvement of a person’s character and mind when distractions are put in their place. I would like to qualify distractions as “demonic attractions.” Those things that are able to attract us away from the Lord are only meant to lead us into darkness. The ability to overcome demonic distractions is based on the heart and what a person desires. Desire clouds the soul to only see and engage self-fulfilling appetites.
The goal in life is to become close to God but there are many levels of closeness. Within each level is a specific order that we must follow in order to remain successful in our closeness with God. One level of closeness is union or by function “encounter.” Everyday every blood redeemed eternal son is given the opportunity to know Eternal Father. To know the Lord in the beauty of His holiness is the encounter. Know here is to cleave. Cleaving is to embrace, hold on to or grasp. Encountering the Lord is always intimate. The intimacy that happens develops degrees of closeness in ways that should always provide a backdrop for God to reveal Himself in the earth. I'd like to call this "Divine quality." Divine quality is the result of hope filled intimacy free of religious “devotional” rituals. We advance in the Lord by following Him into the ways of His nature and character. To grow spiritually we must appreciate the value of our potential. The more we develop inwardly the greater our potential becomes the actuality. Potential determines source. Actuality authenticates the source. It is with this great care that believers reflect the true Light of Yeshua.
We achieve more when our salvation shines through intimacy and not ceremony. Being devoted to God and serving as an inspiration to the rest of the world makes God real and realized. “Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6 It is through Yeshua – the living salvation that life is lived. Being born again marks out an obedience that is for and unto life. "In the days of His flesh,He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, ” Hebrews 5:7-9. Salvation lived in order to die to and for sin. Yeshua had to learn how to die. He had never done it before in the flesh. Remember he is the resurrection. Remember He is life. Death had to be learned through his obedience to it according to His Father's will. The pathway directs us to grow by obeying life not death. The foundation to discipline is marked by what lives. So often we needlessly live with struggles. In actuality we are not struggling with death but we are struggling with life. Mankind by birth is dead in their trespasses. We know how to die because it is expected as part of sin nature. But to live as eternal being filled with unconditional love here is the struggle. Believers unlike Yeshua must learn obedience not unto death but unto life. And not just any kind of life, but abundant life. A life of love filled with the Spirit of our Eternal Father.
Love makes for a stronger spiritual life than any other preoccupation. Discipline invites us to explore the inner chambers of the Lord’s Spirit and His kingdom. With much encouragement we must urge ourselves to explore those empty places in our hearts in order to effective fill those empty spaces in the world in need of the Lord’s love. Spiritual disciplines are God’s way of getting us where He can work within us and transform us. This is the foundation for spiritual success. Every born again believer serves God through obedience which includes obeying the Lord’s commandments. The root purpose of this service is to make us aware of God and to be turned in His direction. The guiding principle is that we must realize that God created us to be close to Him. Discipline guides in how this is accomplished. Discipline keeps us in the Lord’s protection. It is our humanity that causes the incursion of self imperfection and deficiency.
Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin (1) cites a parable of a king who lent his garb to two groups of men. One group carelessly returned the clothes to the king soiled, battered and tarnished. The wise men, however gave everything back in better condition that they received it. The royal robes were laundered and sparkling white and the regalia polished to a dazzling shine. The Talmud concludes that God, too, lends every human being a fragment of His glory, a holy soul. Fools sully their souls with the blemishes of transgression, while the wise polish them with the Lord’s word. The point of the parable shows our responsibility to what we have been given and how discipline perfects us.
There are inward disciplines and there are outward disciplines. Inward disciplines seek to internalize God. It involves taking within our own being the willingness to stretch beyond what we see and know. It is to exercise the Word first in our hearts so much so that we are led into a deeper connection with the core aspect of our being in the Lord. This position begins with silence. This position ends with silence. There are no words spoken for this level of inward discipline. We must silence every form of confusion, every conflict, every painful memory and every certainty that opposes the Lord's Eternal Father’s will. Internalizing and stretching challenge us to take responsibility, staying with the silence until the Lord’s higher levels of truth emerge. Every believer in Yeshua, has a duty to accept the "broken" parts of themselves and to trust that the Lord is addressing and speaking to those things whatever the circumstance may be.
Internal disciplines requires that we stop looking to others as the source of our solutions for our undisciplined lives. This can be hard and painfully difficult but it is absolutely necessary. The Lord created each of us with the potential to be deeply satisfied with our lives; and to be passionately content with whatever it is the Lord presents to us. Anytime we are not, we have an opportunity to learn and this is discipline. We get to see what may be getting in the way because it has been exalted in some way or another. We must uncover the pride that comes through hidden desires. We must be careful not to believe we are the right kind of people for in doing so fear can take over because of the dread losing control of that thought. This kind of pride is the enemy of discipline. For a pride person cannot be disciplined. And for the sake of spiritual safety and godly protection, there are no exceptions to this rule.
It is with all our heart that we engage the Lord’s loving disciplines. The inspiration of selflessness allows love to completes and perfects what is impossible. The Hebrew word for love is “ahavah.” It carries two meanings. The first is sacrificing and giving up for the beloved. The other is preoccupation with Him in thought always longing for Eternal Father’s presence. The most important love is that which gives Him pleasure grown from spiritual maturity.
Hearing and obeying only scratch the surface when it comes to our response to the Lord’s love and discipline. Perfect love is possible only when it is directed toward a perfect and indivisible God. In his intimate relationship with the Father, Yeshua modeled for us the reality of a life of hearing and obeying only to set in place the preparation into the Lord’s ways. It is for love’s sake that chastening comes full of life and hope; therefore it must be for chastening’s sake that we love Eternal Father’s correction by being filled with His foundational discipline.
(1) Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin (Ruach Chaim, Avos 3:1 - Shabbos 125b)


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