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Posted by Daniel Maddry on



Bible: Matthew 6:34; Hebrews 5:8 

Bottom Line: Discipline helps us grow in our relationship with God and others.


  • Chairs (one per student)
  • Slips of paper
  • Bucket
  • Marker


Arrange chairs in a large circle, except for one chair that will be placed in the middle of the circle.

On each slip of paper, use a marker to write one of the following phrases:

  • Name starts with “M”
  • Birthday in June
  • Has blue eyes
  • Wearing a black shirt
  • 15 years old
  • Is a girl
  • Has a sibling in this group
  • Goes to ­­­_______ School (you fill it in)
  • Brought their Bible
  • Owns a pet cat
  • Has flown in a plane
  • Can speak two languages
  • Made their bed today
  • Is a boy
  • Wearing socks

Next, fold each slip of paper in half, put the paper in the bucket, and put the bucket beside the chair in the middle.


Ask: How many of you have played the game, Musical Chairs?

This game is very similar, except there is no music and we aren’t walking around the chairs.

Okay. It's entirely different, except we are using chairs.

I will choose one person to sit in the chair in the middle.

They will choose a slip of paper out of the bucket and read what is written out loud.

It will say something like, “Has brown hair.”

If that phrase applies to you, then you will stand up and switch places with someone else who stood up.

The goal is for the person in the middle to take one of your seats before everyone else has found a different chair.

If you are left without a chair, you have to take a chair in the middle, pick a piece of paper from the bucket, and read it out loud.

The winners of the game are the people who never have to sit in a chair in the middle.

You can award a prize if you want to, but they will have so much fun playing the game, they probably won’t be expecting a prize.


Some of you really had to move around a lot in that game!

As players, you had no control over what would be called out; next, you just had to do what you were told to do.

Raise your hand if you like being told what to do.

Ask: How many of you enjoy being disciplined by your parents or teachers? Tell me what you think “being disciplined” means?

Allow a few responses from students.

Share a personal story of a time when you were punished as a child for doing something you should not have done.

None of us enjoy punishment for our actions.

Some of you may have even been punished unfairly when you didn’t deserve it. 

But when the Bible talks about God's discipline, it's always fair and is meant to help us grow in our relationship with God and into a better person.

Let’s see what the Bible has to say about discipline.

Read Matthew 6:34.

People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore correction will go astray.

Raise your hand if you have ever ridden a horse.

Have you ever ridden a horse wearing a bridle or a bit in its mouth?

A bridle helps direct a horse,

It includes both the headstall that holds a bit that goes in the mouth of a horse, and the reins that are attached to the bit.

Would you ever jump on a wild horse that isn’t wearing a bridle and has never been ridden before? 

That would be a little insane—you would have no control over the horse’s actions and who knows what could happen.

The purpose of a rein is to control the direction the horse is going, and a bit puts enough pressure on the tongue so the horse will respond to what the rider is wanting them to do. 

They are both essential when it comes to successfully riding a horse, and without them, it's more dangerous and unpredictable.

Ask: What are the “bits and reins” in your life that help control your actions? Why are they important? 

Allow a few responses from students.

There will be times that you receive discipline from parents, and those in authority, and others when God is trying to teach you something. 

Ask: How does being disciplined help you grow as a person and in your relationship with God? Is it necessary? 

Allow a few responses from students.

If you've ever interacted with a toddler, you know discipline is necessary—they do whatever they want!

They destroy things, make messes, bite people, and if never told that it’s wrong, they will continue in their destructive behavior.

We know that’s true, because they grow into adults who don’t clean up after themselves or take care of what they own.

Sometimes, people are left to teach themselves right and wrong because they don’t have godly influences in their lives.

But if you ask Him, God will show you the right things to do, and when He does, don’t fight it.

God’s discipline comes in the form of letting us suffer the consequences of our bad choices, but He’s with us through it all.

God also disciplines us when He wants to teach us something because He loves us.

Jesus was disciplined, and He never sinned, so it's not always a result of something we have done.

Hebrews 5:8 says, “[Jesus] learned obedience through what he suffered.”

We learn obedience when we do what God wants us to do, even though we’re experiencing a difficult time.

He will allow us to suffer to make us closer to Him.

Ask: Do you think you can learn to trust God if you are never put in situations that test your faith?

Do you think it’s fair for God to allow suffering to draw us closer to Him? Why or why not?

Allow a few responses from students.

There have been times that your parents have let you suffer a little because they loved you and knew that’s how you would learn. 

How many times have they reminded you to do your homework and you still don't do it?

So, they stop reminding you so that you will learn from your own choices. 

Maybe you want to date someone who is not right for you, and they let you learn that on your own instead of telling you not to date them. 

As a teenager, if you can learn the value of discipline and living a disciplined life, then you will save yourself some heartache and pain as you grow older. 

It takes some people an entire lifetime to learn that there are consequences to their actions. 

You can make the choice today to allow the people God has placed in your life to discipline you and teach you how to live for God. 

And when God disciplines you, know that He loves you and is helping you become the person He wants you to be—the best version of you.

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