By Trace Embry
When it comes to the subject of discipline in America today, it is almost a nasty word. Ironically, ignoring discipline long enough in today’s culture could bring about lasting consequences; including de-civilization.
This is largely because we have become a society that now puts a premium on feelings over logic, style over substance, and subjective experience over objective truth. As a tragic result, we have redefined godly terms like compassion, freedom, and love, with the devil’s dictionary.
The Beginning of De-Civilization
Furthermore, we have become a society of short-term thinkers.
We are consumers of instant gratification rather than investors of long-term reward–the very opposite philosophy that made our once great country great in the first place. We want our pleasure and gratification on the front-end; even though we know we could have a hundred-fold of the very thing we desire, in the long run, if we could just DISCIPLINE ourselves to forgo short-term gratification for a season.
An example of this is money. Invest it as much as you spend it, and you’ll have more to spend later on.
The Problem with Short-Term Gratification
What is wrong with “instant gratification?”
If we don’t shake the concept of “wanting our pleasure on the front-end,” it essentially could destroy us in the long-run.
Just look at some of the practical examples in today’s culture:
- the undisciplined uses of sex
- the rampant use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco
- the lack of discipline with dieting and eating
Our intense addiction to short-term gain, no matter how effectively it’s killing us, we aren’t going to change our habits, because our short-term feelings dictate our actions; which in turn, dictates our long-term health and well-being.
In my years of ministering to families in crisis, this lack of discipline is one of the symptoms of a “troubled teen.” However, it seems more and more that a lack of discipline is also a symptom of a “troubled adult.”
How the Individual Contributes to De-Civilization
The nature of sin is forsaking of long-term good to gain short-term pleasure–the instant gratification of an individual at the expense of the masses.
Undoubtedly, the masses will always eventually include the individual himself.
That’s the tricky part about sin. Whatever the sinner thinks he gains for himself in the short-run, he ultimately loses for himself—and often others—in the long-run.
Discipline, however, works just the opposite. It is the forgoing of immediate comfort for a greater long-term end. We’ve all heard the term “no pain—no gain.” Just read the signs in any gym across America.
Discipline, by its very definition, means you are forcing yourself, or having another force upon you, an act for which you aren’t naturally inclined to do–i.e., abstinence, self-control, exercise, diet, etc., etc., etc.
When man does what feels good all the time, and/or what he wants rather than what he ought; his sin nature, inevitably, drags him toward de-civilization. Consequently, the masses are effected; thus, a nation begins to de-civilize.
Discipline, in all areas of our life, may be a long-term answer for our nation, but what are some other contributing factors to preventing a nation from becoming de-civilized?