A father sits with his young son on the edge of the bed explaining why he’s about to get a spanking. In loving and gentle, yet firm, words he speaks about the consequences of disobedience.
All the child can think about is how many times he’s going to get whacked. But, deep inside, he knows that his daddy loves him because he’s demonstrated it in so many ways. He has a relationship with him.
If You’re a Child of God You will Experience His Discipline
Do you know how much God loves you? You are his child. Yet, there are times, when you’re disobedient, that he needs to chastise you in love. Yes, in love.
“The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as a son.” (Hebrews 12:6 NIV) We cannot forget that even as born again believers and adopted sons and daughters of God, we are still inclined to sin. You know that’s just a given. There’s no one that can say that they don’t struggle with sin.
“I thank God that there are such things as the visitations of correction and of holy discipline, to preserve our spirit, and bring us to Christ.” Charles H. Spurgeon
Why Discipline is Necessary
What is sin for us as Christians? Disobedience toward a loving Father. And disobedience requires correction.
Discipline is what God uses to correct wrong behaviour, just like the relationship between earthly fathers and their children.
“Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.” (Hebrews 12:9-10 NIV)
“The purpose of God’s discipline is not to punish us but to transform us. He has already meted out punishment for our sins on Jesus at Calvary: “The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him” (Isaiah 53:5). But we must be transformed more and more into the likeness of Christ. That is the purpose of discipline.” Jerry Bridges
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What does God’s discipline look like?
Glad you’ve asked. It comes in many forms: sickness, the loss of a job, removal of blessings, broken relationships, church discipline, loss of business or riches, instability in the home, a personal confrontation, a restless spirit, or a lack of peace.
Don’t let some of the things listed here throw you off. Not all sickness is discipline, for example. But, it is a form of discipline that God chooses to utilize when he really wants to get our attention.
God disciplined King David for his sin of adultery and murder. (2 Samuel 12:9-10). He disciplined Moses for sinning in anger. (Deuteronomy 32:51-52) And the nation of Isreal experienced God’s loving, yet firm, discipline time and time again for their disobedience.
You may be suffering through discipline at this very moment in your life and haven’t recognized it as such. What things are you suffering? Stop and consider whether God may be disciplining you in love.
Is there a sin in your life that you need to confess and forsake? Do it – now. The discipline will continue until you submit to your heavenly Father’s loving guidance. And remember that He disciplines us, not out of anger, but out of concern and committment to our growth.
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11 NIV)
The Benefits of God’s Discipline
God’s purpose for disciplining you is always positive. It’s to make you more like Christ. Sin leads to ungodliness, destruction, shame and death while discipline leads to godliness, edification, delight and life.
“When our behavior fails to align with our true identity in Christ, God disciplines us for our own good. He brings about correction so that our behaviour parallels our identity.” Charles Stanley
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Solomon counseled his son in Proverbs 3:11(NIV), “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke.” As a father, Solomon knows the tendency of a child to resent his parent for rebuking and diciplining him for disobedience.
We’ve all been there, haven’t we? We certainly see it in our own kids and we also know what it’s like to be in their shoes. Then Solomon goes on to say, “because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in”.
All of Proverbs 3 is full of wise words from father to son, spoken out of deep love and committment.
God’s heart is not to belittle us or shame us into feeling sorrow and regret. Yes, he wants us to see our disobedience for what it is and repent of it. But, his ultimate goal is to restore us, remove all shame, give us hope and set us on the road to abundant living.
So, be courageous today and allow God’s discipline to bring you back to a place of health and hope and peace and prosperity. You know it’s for your own good.
“Look upon chastising as God’s chariots sent to carry your soul into the high places of spiritual achievement.” – Hannah Whitall Smith
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