You've got to love Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. When it came to crunch time in their faith they refused to bow down to the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar built. They realized the consequences of their actions would result in being thrown into the fiery furnace. They knew God was more than capable of saving them from the fire, but even if He didn't, they would never compromise by worshipping anything or anyone besides the Lord. Though we know very little of the upbringing of these three young men prior to coming to Babylon, we can tell that they were disciplined men who had been properly trained from their youth. In their time of trial, they were prepared to meet this challenge.
With discipline, there are two areas I would like for us to consider. The first involves the discipline needed to help us learn proper behaviors and actions. The second involves the results that occur when we become disciplined.
In the first area of discipline, I was told by my high school football coach that if he ever stopped disciplining me it meant he had given up on me as a player. He was convinced I could play better and through tough standards, he achieved the results he was looking for. Though my parents loved me unconditionally, they also told me the same thing pertaining to discipline. They knew that discipline would equip me to be the person God had designed me to be. Discipline goes beyond punishment by instilling the desire to never repeat misdeeds, but instead make better choices. We are reminded in Scripture that the Lord loves those whom he disciplines (Hebrews 12:6-11). Therefore, each of us can learn tremendous lessons when we are willing to accept discipline.
process of accepting and practicing discipline causes you to become
personally disciplined. A disciplined person is able to stand up on
his or her own two feet, with rock solid judgment and wisdom. Men
and women who are disciplined are easily distinguished from those
who are not. A high level of character and leadership qualities emerges.
Others will follow a disciplined person because he or she is prepared
to handle whatever situation he encounters.
The above noted character quality is an excerpt from one of Rod Handley's latest books, "Character Counts For Quiet Time and Small Groups" (Volume 2).In addition to sixteen different character qualities, you get a number of Scripture references and appropriate small group discussion questions. This book is perfect for any age, giving helps on how to live out the Christian life. It's retail price is $6.95. Additional character qualities will be put into future volumes.