Hebrews 12:5-6 says:
and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; 6FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.”
In looking at that, let’s turn to Proverbs 3:11-12, which is where the writer of Hebrews is quoting from:
My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD
Or loathe His reproof,
12For whom the LORD loves He reproves,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.
The writer of Hebrews is appealing to God’s wisdom, which starts with the knowledge of God. In a very real sense, God is saying in wisdom:
Trust me to discipline you as My children trust Me to bless you.
The reason for this relationship between Father and Son, and, in Proverbs, teacher and student reveals that education is not just a matter of memorizing words and relying on information. Rather, it involves trust and respect between two people. When someone implements that knowledge that they’re learning with a relationship with the Lord God himself, it drips down through their character. Proverbs 3:1-4 says:
My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;
2For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you.
3Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
4So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.
In this section of Proverbs, he’s actually giving four exhortations, and the fourth one is the one that the Hebrews writer is quoting. The first one is to keep God’s commandments, which are found in Proverbs 3:1-4. The second one is to rely on the Lord’s guidance and understanding, not your own. The third one is to honor the Lord with your provisions. Then, he comes to this fourth one, which is to accept the Lord’s discipline.
I was reading a story of a father, who’s training his son up in wisdom and hoping that his son would come up to his standard academically, especially since he had a very high academic standard. He was always prodding his son to get higher grades. When he got the report cards, he was always a little disappointed that his son didn’t really measure up to his excellence.
One day, he got a letter from the principal stating that he was invited to an awards ceremony. In his mind, he’s wondering, "Why would I be invited to an awards ceremony if my son got grades like this?" Reluctantly, he went and sat there. As he was sitting there he’s thinking in his mind, while other students are being called for academic awards, how much his son sucks and that he should have tried harder. He continues to tell himself:
Why am I here? Am I just filling a seat? Did I just get invited so that there would be a crowd?
Then, the principal got up to the podium, got before the microphone, and announced, for the first time:
I’m presenting a special award to a young man, who has been so exceptional that we couldn’t overlook his accomplishment.
His name is Gordon, the man’s son. The principal spent several minutes describing the fine character of this young man such as his kindness towards others, his trustworthiness, and his quiet leadership.
The principal went on to say:
We have never had a student like Gordon in our school, and there probably will never be another like him. So, we’re giving you, Gordon, for the first and possibly the last, principles cup award for integrity, diligence, and decency. Thank you for what you have brought to our school. We needed this more than academics, and anyone who gets to know you will be better because of it.
His father sat there and thought how the principle was speaking to him because he had not gotten to know his son. When you raise your children, sometimes the world standard on where they should be and what they should accomplish is quite different than God’s standard. God’s standard is always character. It doesn’t mean academics aren’t important, but it’s always character first.
Often, anyone growing up is foolish and naive, and God’s word will make them grow out of their foolishness, grow out of being naive, and become wise. The only way for that to happen is that God would be first in everything, the One who guides you, and the One who directs you.
In God’s educational school room, He does not excluded correction. Eldon Woodcock wrote:
Wisdom involves a right attitude and approach to all areas of life. In spiritual life it includes a commitment to follow the teachings of a holy and righteous God, who expects His people to reflect His qualities, and a moral commandment to do what is right avoiding that which is wrong.
In this next exhortation, the writer of Hebrews brings out to those who is speaking to, especially in light of Hebrews 12:4:
You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin.
In other words, God poured out on Jesus Christ the penalty for unrighteousness Not His own, but ours, so that we can be set on a path to live righteously and to be in God’s School room where we are educated in the right way. Thus, this exhortation may reveal the real test on trusting God. The real test of real faith, which is how you respond to your loving Father’s discipline.
Now, the problem is that we don’t always realize God’s disciplining us when he is, especially since we don’t always realize that God is involved with all of the regular, everyday providences we go through. God is not on the outskirts and comes in once in a while. You have the Holy Spirit indwelling you permanently and all the time. Meaning, God is always with you.
Therefore, this exhortation may be the exhortation that gives you the understanding and the correction that you need to go in the direction you’re not going, but should be going in. However, you haven’t gotten there yet.
It’s one thing to trust God when the horizon is bright, but what about when suffering comes? It’s one thing to trust in wealth. Wealth may cause you to forget God. On the other hand, suffering may cause you to alienate yourself from God. Trouble may cause you to alienate yourself from God, but the person of wisdom learns to strike the balance.
They learn to see what God is doing in their life, and when trouble comes, when suffering comes, and when discipline comes, the first questions we should ask is: Lord, what are you trying to teach me? If that’s not the first question, we will usually end up responding to it in a wrong way, and we will not get the lesson that God wants to teach us.
Let’s look at the wisdom before us on these pages. It could very well be one of the most difficult ones to understand, but when understood, it is the most liberating, self-abasing, purifying, and God exalting of all of them, especially since it will make you more Christ-like. It will make you more holy when you respond correctly. Again, Proverbs 3:11-12 says:
My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD Or loathe His reproof,
12For whom the LORD loves He reproves,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.
Under this major heading of Accept the Lord’s Correction, I’m going to look at three things. First, the nature and definition of divine discipline. Secondly, the nature and wrong response to divine discipline. Lastly, the nature and encouragement of divine discipline, which is where the writer of Hebrews picks up.
Discipline is different than punishment. The word punishment means retribution from God, which is intended to do harm. Discipline means hardship through which God intends to do us good because we have a loving, heavenly Father disciplining with their children.
Now, we become children based on believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We’re brought into the family of God. When that happens, our relationship to God has change from being an enemy to be a child of God, or someone in God’s family. Therefore, that’s how God is going to deal with us.
Thus, discipline is God’s educational system, which is the thing he uses to correct us, and it’s always intended for the good. When Paul is telling the Corinthian Church about their abuse in the Lord’s table, he says this to in 1 Corinthians 11:30-32:
For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. 31But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. 32But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.
The Lord is going to bring discipline upon His children, and He’s going to do it for their good and for His glory. When a person is in the family of God, they are disciplined by the Father, who loves them.
The very word discipline in the Hebrew is masseur, which correction and instruction. It means to restrain from doing wrong. It means to reform by words. Also, it means to be reformed by actions such as corporal discipline.
The verb means to train and to bring someone under the discipline. It is the training of an individual in areas in which he or she is unruly and does not want to be told at that point, so they will be brought under the disciplining hand of God. In the Septuagint, the word also means to train, to teach, to discipline, to correct, to whip, to scourge, and to beat.
Here, the word is used in a way where it means to take one into the school house, or into the woodshed. One definition suggests that it means whatever parents and teachers do to train, correct, cultivate, and educate their children in order to help develop them and mature them. That’s not a bad discipline. Proverbs 19:18 says:
Discipline your son while there is hope,
And do not desire his death.
It’s interesting how that’s connected there. In other words, to discipline your child in a way where you’re bringing physical pain upon your child in a correct way, in a controlled way, without anger, without manipulation, without abuse, and you’re never desiring the death of your child. Rather, you’re always Desiring their correction. Then, Proverbs 23:13 says:
Do not hold back discipline from the child, Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die.
I’m reading these things because the Bible is advocating spanking. Would God spank His kids? If Jesus had kids, would He spank His? Yes; it says so in the word of God. Therefore, He wrote it, and the word is connected to who He is in His attributes and character, so there are positive and negative aspects to God’s education. Of course, spanking is one of them. Then, Proverbs 29:17 says:
Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; He will also delight your soul.
When, it comes to disciplining children, this very fact that disciplining both in a positive and a negative way, and both in a verbal and in a physical way. Arthur Pink wrote:
Divine discipline is God correcting in love, not smiting in wrath.
When God punishes His kids, it’s never for their destruction. It’s always for their maturity and their holiness. Proverbs views discipline as a necessary feature of the educational process, which helps form a child’s character and sharpen a child’s listening skills.
In Proverbs, the point is to get your children to listen to your voice the first time. If you say, "Johnny, come here," Johnny will come. However, when you’re doing it the second or third time, Johnny’s in control, not you, and his listening skills are not where they ought to be. You need to sharpen those skills. For Johnny, that mean that he needs to most likely be taken care of in the private matter – in the woodshed matter.
Discipline is not always for disobedience. It’s also for the good of the recipient. Let’s look at some Biblical examples explaining the definition that God uses divine discipline in at least three ways in the word of God. The first way is simply that of correction. God’s going to correct behavior. In fact, God uses discipline for personal transgression.
If there is sin in your life, He’s going to correct you, especially if you don’t do the correcting yourself. A good example of that is found in the word of God in the life of David. When David sinned with Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife, and brought her into his bed, the Bible says some things to David that are noteworthy. 2 Samuel 12:10-15 says:
‘Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 11“Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. 12‘Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.’” 13Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die. 14“However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.” 15So Nathan went to his house.
In other words, the discipline given to David was corrective discipline, not judgmental. If it was judgmental David should die on the spot. He committed murder, so the loss is that you die. If you commit adultery, the law says you are to die. However, he didn’t die. God forgave him and corrected him.
Of course, sin always has consequences, and the consequences for David was the loss of an infant son by Bathsheba. Several of his sons caused many serious problems within his life, and the sword never departed from David’s house. However, the result drew David closer to God, and it helped him to grow and mature by returning back to the narrow path. When you read the Psalms, you read how David was corrected and trained by God in that way. What is he right in Psalm 119:71:75 says:
71It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.
75I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are righteous, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
Again, David took the Lord’s discipline and used it in a right way. He was corrected, and he never went that way again, so it was very profitable for David even though there were consequences of sin. The sorrow that came from his own son was on going, and of course David was a king, he had much responsibility, and he was to be an example.
If you and I don’t take the weights that hold us down, the sins that easily entangles us, and we don’t take care of them, then the encouragement will come when God disciplines you for not taking care of what you ought to take care of. He is telling us:
Listen, as believers, there are two general areas that we must pay close attention to and be deliberate in, which is to lay those things aside.
Hebrews 12:1 says:
Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
Those very things that weigh us down in running the race are not necessarily sinful, but we must strip them from ourselves because they impede our performance. Last time, I mentioned that they could be habits, earthly pleasures, leisurely fun, and spending a lot of time blogging on the internet and Facebook. It could be a craving for good times and entertainment, ordering too many Netflix, and bedding down every night to the entertainment mindset, which doesn’t benefit you and I at all. It just gives us the world stuff in one large dose, and we don’t need that.
Those are some of the things that you and I need to scale down and move out of our life because they’re not profitable for running the race. It could be desire for prosperity and gain. It could be worldly ease and desiring to take the path of least resistance. It could be associations with people, with clubs, and the list goes on and on. These are the weights that keep us back from running the race. We must shed them just as an athlete sheds his tracksuit.
Also, it could also be sin. We need to put off the things that easily entangle us because they hamper us, and they keep us back. Those sins could be anger, hatred, criticism, laziness, covetousness, envy, complaining, grumbling, slander, prayerlessness, hypocrisy, pride, thanklessness, and unbelief. So, the Lord is saying to us:
Listen, if you don’t take care of them and lay them aside on your own, I will step in, as a heavenly Father, and I will correct you. I’m not going to let my children act like that.
We live in a world where if you talk about spanking or corporal discipline, you’re in trouble, and as believers, we need to be wise in that area. However, what worldview is inclined to think that it’s wrong to spank a child? All the worldview is inclined. Simply, they have the wrong view of God.
In Scripture, God’s telling us what he does and what he wants us to do, and He is saying it is right. In fact, spanking is quick. To tell child, "go to your room and don’t come out until you figure out what you done wrong,” How does that help anybody? How about spanking being quick, clean, and definitive? Because you have done wrong and you broke the rule, you get a spanking for it.
Then, the child gets a spanking, and before they go out of the room, you hug them and tell them you love them. Five minutes later, they’re bouncing off the walls having a great time because they paid their penalty. However, they are learning in the process.
To send a kid into a corner and stick their head in the corner is humiliating. To send them to the room to figure out what they’re supposed to do and have them count to ten is all ridiculous. It does not amend behavior, but its seeds bitterness and anger towards the parent.
However, God’s takes care of it in the right way. If we have a right view of God, God’s parenting style is using suffering to discipline his children. It’s using leverage for pain to drive out rebellion and disobedience that’s in that child’s heart. Nothing’s going to drive it away unless you, as a parent, apply the needed pressure at the right time. Keeping in mind, the character of each child being different right and knowing what age that it ends.
Discipline starts with a rebellious, strong-willed child. It could be a lot in the beginning, but as they learn, it becomes less and less and less. By seven or eight years old, it’s almost rare to have corporal discipline because you taught them how to listen to your voice. If they learn to listen to voice, they will learn to listen to God’s voice. Then, they will learn listen to voices of authority.
A second way is prevention. God sends discipline into our life by way of preventing us from often sin. A great example is when God gave Paul a messenger of Satan to buffing him in the flesh. Why did God do that? He did it for prevention. It says in 2 Corinthians 12:7:
Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!
It is preventing Paul to exalt himself, and for others to exalt him. He was given this thorn in the flesh. Paul was caught up to the third heaven. He saw things that no man ever saw. Therefore, he knew things no man ever knew before Paul, so he was giving this thorn in the flesh to keep him in his place.
Paul was given the discipline to keep prevent him from being proud. The affliction never left Paul. He prayed three times and God said no because it was needed for him in God’s ministry and service to Him. As a result, the thorn made the apostle more conscious of his weaknesses and God’s strength. In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Paul says:
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
There is the principle: we all must learn, as Christians, that when you are weak, God is strong. When you are strong and exhausting yourself, God is usually not involved. It’s usually your own flesh, right? It’s a strange principle to learn. Nonetheless it’s true.
When you realize who you are and who God is and what God is doing in your life, you’re often amazed when God even uses you. God can use you, but you give God the glory. He wants to use us, but He doesn’t want you to exalt yourself. It doesn’t matter what gift is given you or what measure of gift he’s giving you, God always gets the glory.
Sometimes, He sends discipline for preventing you from sinning, which could be a handicap in your life, a person in your life, or a circumstance in your life. He’s holding you back, and it could be a short period of time or for a whole lifetime like Paul. Nonetheless, God has done it.
A third way God does it is by way of instruction. The great example here is Job. When God sent something on him, he had all the suffering any man would ever want on this Earth. He had family bereavement, he lost property, and he had grievous, bodily afflictions. They all came fast and one after another. In the end, Job learned that he was instructed in the character and ways of God Almighty. Job 42:3-6 says:
Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ “Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”
4‘Hear, now, and I will speak;
I will ask You, and You instruct me.’
5“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;
6Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes.”
Secondly, I want to bring up the natural and wrong response to the divine discipline. Meaning, our natural inclination when discipline comes is to resist it, right? It’s to say: Why me? Why Now? Why to this extent? Proverbs 3:11 gives us two warnings:
My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD Or loathe His reproof.
The first warning is to not reject. You have been learning all these things about the Lord, so don’t reject when He steps in and He corrects you, prevents sin, or instructions you in something. Puritan, William Arno has an insightful definition of the word:
It means to make light of anything and cast aside as if it had no meaning and no power.
In fact, Hebrews 12:5 translates it a little bit different than Proverbs:
and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM;
Arno went on to say:
The affliction comes on the particular suffer, and the suffer only looks to the immediate cause and they look no further. They refuse often to look to the higher links in the chain and refuse to make a communion with God.
In other word, they are not asking:
Lord, what are you doing in my life right now? What weights are holding me down that I’m not putting off that you want me to put off? What sins so easily entangle me?
Also, they’re understanding this:
Lord, You’re My Father. You’re not doing this to harm me, but You’re doing this for my good, for my correction, for greater holiness, and for a greater walk with you. Then, let me respond to it in the correct manner, not with a negative rejection.
That’s an improper attitude, and that’s failing to ask the right questions. Secondly, in Proverbs 3:11, he says toot loath His reproof. Loathing means to be grieved by what’s happening in your life. Hebrews 12:5 records it as:
…NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM;
You get weakened by it because you think of all wrong. There are several ways in which we reject and loath God’s discipline. Number one, we do it by callousness. Meaning, a lack of regard of Gods have admonitions and instructions. We always have to look at our life as God is involved with us in every little detail about us.
Peter says that it’s not strange for trials and tribulations to come in, and God uses that for the good. That’s normal Christianity, but in modern-day flow of Evangelical thought, it’s not normal today. Biblically, it is normal to have those things happening to us, so you view them as common or as inevitable troubles. You never received the heavenly father has some special design in them just for you. Thus, discipline hardens the heart, but is intended to melt the heart
Secondly, it is complaining, grumbling, murmuring, belly aching, and under the breath remarks. You asked yourself:
Why do I deserve this? I don’t deserve this kind of treatment. I’m supposed to be a Christian.
You become envious because others around you seem to be carrying a lighter load than you, so Christians need to take heed because God does not go lightly with those who murmur or grumble. God will keep the pressure on your life and the discipline in your life until the behavior is amended, and the sin is repented of.
Even going to get other people to pray you out of the distress in that time, is of no avail. God will keep you there until He trains you in His school of education by way of corporal discipline.
Another way of responding in the wrong way is carelessness, which is to fail to mend your ways and habits. You just despise God’s rod whether he sent sickness, troubles, bereavements, and you do not come to set them apart by prayer for examination. When God’s discipline comes, we are to prayerfully examine our life.
That’s one thing the Lord’s table gives us an opportunity to do every month. You come to examine yourself, so look at yourself right now: what troubles and things have come into your life in the last couple weeks or month? If you’re a believer, do you think God had nothing to do with that? Do you think that He’s taken by surprise? Have you considered yourself and have you examined yourself to see what you need to correct? Then, you just want to give up, and you say:
God it’s too much for me to bear.
Yet, we know in Scripture, that God will never give you more than you’re able to bear. They may even respond:
Well, I guess I’m not a child of God.
Therefore, they want to quit. Not that they do quit, but they want to quit. In man’s every rejection, they fail to see God, the Father, lovingly at work. They take their eyes off the goal. What is the goal anyway? In Romans 8:28-29, it says:
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren
Isn’t that goal? Then, Psalm 34:19 says:
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the LORD delivers him out of them all.
God’s not going to keep you there forever, and that’s a good way to look at it. Left to ourselves, we tend to suppress the God-given knowledge and wisdom about discipline. Rather, we learn usually to run away or be taking up by our old, evil imaginations that want to go into another direction. When everyone tends to obey the way of the good Father’s wisdom reluctantly, defiantly, or sometimes gives a good show of external compliance, but fails to insubordinate heart before other people, then that is a heart disposition that we want to avoid.
Today, you may need to pull some weeds. You may need to lay aside some ways. You may need to forsake some sin, and your attitude towards God’s reproof should always be that of humility and teachability because that’s exactly what the Lord wants you to do. Look at trials as proof of God’s love. Look at trials as proof that God wants to purge you, prune you, and purify you.
That’s his intention, and you’re not going to get away from it. As a believer, you can’t run from it. Job 5:17-18 says:
“Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, So do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. 18“For He inflicts pain, and gives relief; He wounds, and His hands also heal.
God always has a purpose, and he never does things randomly. Then, there’s a third thing in Proverbs 3:12 and that is the nurture encouragement of divine discipline:
For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.
I must admit that it is hard to see discipline as good, but hardships, testing, sickness, and grief is the mark of love for the child of God. It’s to show when we respond correctly, us delighting in God and God delighting in us. Thus, God intervenes because He loves us and wants us to grow and mature in faith and in trust. In Revelation 3:19-20, it says:
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. 20‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.
If you take the Lords discipline correctly and you learn the lessons, then you’re back into fellowship with God never breaking the relationship of ongoing Fellowship. You can’t break the relationship with the Father that’s going to be forever eternal.
Therefore, discipline should be accepted as part as His mysterious educational purposes because His discipline is always for our good and His glory. No matter how clearly God marks out the path of righteousness, some miss it, some are careless, some are stubborn, some have left the path, and they need to be brought back to the path. As a caring father, the Lord needs to discipline them, point out their mistakes, and return them to the right path.
Love is always God’s motivation for correction. If we take it correctly and if we respond to we correctly, then the Bible says that we are well pleasing to him. You are well pleasing in His sight. We end up taking more delight in God. We also discover, maybe on a higher level, that He loves us more than we ever thought he did.
Also, we are His children, and the seed and spirit of God is in you. No one could snatch you out of His hand and no one could take you out of His family. You are there forever. Maybe you’re learning more of that, and that He is your Father. Even if you didn’t have a father or you had a bad example of a father, when you come to the word of God, you find out that the heavenly Father, who is now your Father because of the Lord Jesus Christ, is a good Father.
He knows how to bestow good gifts on His children. In His educational process, He will not hold back corporal discipline from you if we need it. In fact, if you are without discipline, you are illegitimate children. Meaning, you don’t belong to God’s family.
Everyone, who is a believer and names the name of Jesus Christ, will be disciplined by God the Father himself, so be looking for how God is working. He is our Father, and God disciplines the wise for their own good and profit. So, what’s the reward for the patient and grateful acceptance of reproof? It is a deepening awareness of one’s affectionate relationship to God.
We are to find God at the center of our life and understand that God has to be first in all things. In a general sense, our culture and even the church has moved away from interpreting the suffering of life as part of God’s necessary discipline. They moved away from that. There has been a failure to learn from our struggles, which is something of the character of Christ. God won’t let us go on that way.
Correction is for the child’s good. In fact, this is the principles that have been laid out long time ago in Scripture. Deuteronomy 8:5 tells us:
Thus you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.
Then, Proverbs 13:24 says:
He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.
Meaning, you’re not going to let up until this behavior is amended and corrected and that’s when you love your children. Sometimes, it’s not always corporal. Sometimes, it’s by voice commands. Sometimes, it’s pressing them to do what’s right or the right thing to do. There are ways to discipline other than that as your children get older.
For instance, my kids’ hands are very sore because I had them write many times about certain behaviors that were wrong or sit there and write me five hundred times, "No, I will not talk back to my mother." All five hundred lines had to be straight. If there was a crooked line, then they would start over again. Usually, I would pick a nice sunny day to do that.
There are ways to discipline that is wise, good, and amends behavior that gets the right thoughts into your children’s heads and hearts, so they do what is right. When it comes to discipline, don’t resort to the ridiculous things the world tells you. Nothing grieves me more than when I see a mother screaming at her kid in the food store because her kids pulling up all the boxes of the sweetest cereal that they can find and putting it into the cart. Then, she’s yelling at the top of her lungs, which drives him to kicking on the floor.
All you have to do is reign that in by discipline and that behavior will be gone in three times. As Christians, do you believe that? If you don’t, you won’t do it. If you believe it, then you believe that God’s word is true, and God’s word is not only true, but it works. Then, you’ll implement it in your life, and you will help other people to implement it in their life.
In conclusion, we learned at least several things. Number one, suffering is really God’s means of discipline. The corporal discipline part of it is necessary in God’s school of training, so that the disciple becomes mature and fruit-baring. In Hebrews, we have the same thing happening. God wants us to have a vibrant faith. He wants to us to live a Holy life. God, the ruler of the universe permits suffering to fall on all men in discriminately, but the God of mercy stands by to make the suffering God’s love instrument in training every one of his children until they amend their behavior.
The same stroke may fall on two different people: one for judgement and one for discipline. Nonetheless, God will use what he needs to use in your life. It may be different than it is in my life and maybe for a different reason than for your life, but He will use whatever He needs to use to bring us to the place where we amend our Behavior.
Number two, discipline and suffering prove God’s fatherly love. It doesn’t prove that God is against us, but it proves God is for us and he has our good in mind. When God disciplines us through suffering, it is a sign of His love for us, not with unfairness, anger, or indifference, but to learn from the pressure that is applied to them. Hebrews 12:8 says:
But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
I can proclaim with confidence, whatever the providence maybe that turns your joy to grief, it is the chastising hand of God. God will keep you there until you learn.
Lastly, discipline suffering reveals what is in your heart. If I spurn the discipline, or if I look at the discipline as in as an offense by grumbling, murmuring, or bellyaching, then I’m not accepting it. In Proverbs, a wise son accepts the discipline of the Lord because he knows everything that goes behind it and he knows the character of his Father, who is implementing it in his life. God is for us, not against us.
As we submit to a loving, all-wise Father who directs us in the right way, that’s wisdom. Again, David writes in Psalm 119:67:71:
67Before I was afflicted I went astray,
But now I keep Your word.
71It is good for me that I was afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.
Did you see the response that David had? He had a proper response to God’s discipline? When we learn that, we learn to be more aware of God’s presence in our life. You may ask yourself: well, Pastor, have you ever been disciplined by the Lord? Yes. I have several times. One time, it was for three months.
When I was in the church, the Pastor asked me if God had called me to preach yet, and my response was, "I’m never going to preach. I’m never going to get up front of people. There’s no way I’m doing that." Every time he had said that to me, that was my response. I don’t know what he saw, but there was no way I was doing that.
I was in the Marine Corps for four years, and I was never sick in the Marine Corps. I go to start my first semester of college, and I went to the doctor with a sore through. I thought, "No big deal. I’ll get some antibiotics and it will be over with." Then, the doctor says to me that for the next couple of months I had to stay home, so I went home.
For two months, I kicked, complained, grumbled at what was going on in my life. When I went back to the doctors, he told me to stay home for another month, so the third month I began to think, as I was reading through the Bible, "wait a minute… maybe God’s talking to me here." Once I made that shift and started thinking about what I was doing in my life and what I was refusing to do in my life, that’s when I began to get better.
When I came to that point, I was in church the next week, and I told the pastor that God had called me. That Thursday, I preached on University Avenue in Newark, and I did that for a couple of years. So, when sickness comes, or something comes into my life, the first thing I’m asking what do you want me to do? Do you want me to change? What do you want me to get out? Who do you want me to see? Amen, God is good. It’s all for good. Let’s pray:
Lord, thank You for Your people. I pray that You bless them. I pray, Lord, that You would give them a very sensitive spirit to listen to You when You have to step in and discipline them as a loving Father. I pray, Lord, they wouldn’t make the mistake I made. I pray, Lord, that they would quickly go to You in prayer for examination, and that You would show them what they need to drop off, what sin they need to repent of, or whatever You’re calling them to do in their life. I pray that You would show them clearly and bless them. I pray, You would help them to respond. Not in a way where they reject Your discipline or loath it, but in the way, they accept it. Do that for all of us, Lord, for we know that it would be more than one time that You discipline us. I pray, Lord, You would make us more sensitive to the word of God and to what You’re doing in our lives, so we can be used effectively in the Kingdom and the building of Your church. Again, thank You for being such a good Heavenly Father to us, such a kind Heavenly Father, and such a long-suffering Heavenly Father. Thank You Father that You didn’t withhold the greatest gift of Your own son to die in our place, so we can be set free from the wrath of God and be made right with You based on our Lord’s righteousness, not our own. Also, we can have a relationship with You in the family of God. Thank You, Lord, it proves to us when we’re disciplined, we truly are Your children and we thank You for this in Christ’s name. Amen.