“In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as His children? My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child He loves that He disciplines; the child He embraces, He also corrects. God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off big-time, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.” Hebrews 12:4-11 MSG
Discipline… a word misunderstood by the elitists and progressives of today. A word dreaded by those doing wrong, but necessary for all who desire to live a life pleasing to the Lord. Most see discipline as punishment but it’s not. That’s why some parents won’t set boundaries for their children, or chasten them when necessary. This is the main reason we now have an out of control society. We’re seeing children and young adults who have never been told no, don’t know clear boundaries, and have no fear of God, or man. I heard a twenty something tell her mother “first of all don’t talk to me like that, I’m not a five year old “ I saw the embarrassment on the mother’s face, but that didn’t start yesterday, that is allowed behavior from way back.
Chastening or discipline is actually an act of love- reserved only for your children, not someone else’s. Even God the Father said that by disciplining us, He’s treating us as sons. Meaning He’s disciplining who belongs to Him. As a matter of fact, He further states that if we’re not chastened by Him we’re not His. He doesn’t punish us as our sin deserves, instead He lovingly corrects us, He doesn’t chasten in anger or wrath. That was what Jesus suffered for us. Mercy and grace is what we received. But chastening or discipline is necessary if we’re to become mature sons and daughters of a Holy God.
That agonizing pain of conscience you’re feeling for that unrepentant sin- thats the Lord’s chastening or discipline. It’s His way of letting us know that we have displeased Him. Disciplining us opens our eyes to right and wrong choices. We can sense His love throughout the process. He will not relent until we repent. That’s why it’s hard for the believer to hide sin. We may be able to do so from those around us, but not from the Father. We can force a smile and say “I'm blessed”when asked how we are, but our bones are wasting away. It’s hard to ignore the disciplining of God. We can try, but if we truly love the Lord we’ll eventually wave the white flag of surrender and repentance.
Discipline trains us. It equips us to be the men and women God wants us to be. We become people of integrity, moral and godly character, discerning, full of the Spirit of wisdom, able to make good decisions, holy, we sin less, we’re more loving, forgiving, joyful, generous, kind, selfless, caring and authentic. We become better citizens and neighbors. All these characteristics are formed in us through discipline. The opposite is true of those who are left to their own devices. It’s proof they have no Father. That’s why we are told not to run from or despise our Father’s discipline.
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction; For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.”
Proverbs 3:11-12 NKJV
We’re trained through submitting to the Lord’s discipline. He will never harm us. He’s not an abusive dictator. Just think of the cross for a moment. Who hung there? And why? Then listen to Scripture explain it. Our discipline is a small penalty for our mess ups. We deserved so much more, instead what we deserved was placed squarely on Jesus, He was so marred by our sins that He was unrecognizable.
“For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities.”Isaiah 53:2-8, 11 NKJV
I’ve done a message on the difference between punishment and discipline. Don’t let anyone tell you that if you’re facing hardships, have been in an accident, diagnosed with an illness, or lose a loved one, that God is somehow mad at you and is trying to get your attention. Remember Job. His friends thought he was being punished for some unknown sin, but it was Satan trying to destroy Job’s credibility with God. I’ve told people I’ve ministered to that God doesn’t need to make me sick to prove He’s my healer, or keep me poor to prove He’s my provider. He doesn’t need to put me in a wreck to prove He’s a deliverer. That’s not discipline and I won’t receive any training from it. If anything it will make me less trusting and more suspicious of His love. No, the training we receive through His discipline will make us true sons and daughters, and true disciples carrying His message of hope and grace. Our senses will be trained to know right from wrong, good from evil. We’ll be better not bitter. We will face every challenge from a place of spiritual maturity. That’s what true spiritual, fatherly discipline produces-Children a Father can be proud of.
If you are being disciplined today, submit, repent, and receive the love He has for you. Don’t resist or despise it. The best soldiers are trained through discipline. Those who complain and resist will die on the battlefield of life. Those who will adhere to their training will come out victorious. No one loves us more than our Heavenly Father. No one! They can’t even come close. Our earthly parents or caregivers are people needing God’s discipline as well, so they fall short. But if they are just doing best they can, and we submit to the temporary pain of their training, how much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live forever? This is what biblical discipline produces in those who are trained by it. It matures us in every area of our lives.
“But solid food is for the mature, whose spiritual senses perceive heavenly matters. And they have been adequately trained by what they’ve experienced to emerge with understanding of the difference between what is truly excellent and what is evil and harmful.”
Hebrews 5:14 TPT
Our discipline, though not pleasant at times, is working out a better way for us. We’re being trained by the things we experience in life. Jesus taught with parables, parables that spoke to the heart of every hearer, because it was a language they understood. We too understand the Father’s discipline. It’s not done by stealth and surprise. We know why, we know what we did. Discipline brings repentance, it makes us acknowledge our sins before a Holy God. But it also draws us closer to Him. I thank Him for loving me enough to discipline me. If He didn’t care about me, then He would’ve allowed me to continue in my disobedience. It helps me refocus, take a spiritual inventory of my life and see things from His perspective and turn around. I took no pleasure in chastening my daughter. But the discipline has paid off.
So it is with our loving Father. He poured His punishment on Jesus for our sins, but lovingly disciplines us by training us to His ways of doing and being. Welcome His discipline today. The sooner you do, the shorter your stay in the wilderness of disobedience.
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit
February 8, 2022