Wednesday, September 17, 2014

God’s Loving Discipline

Hebrews 12:8-11 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.  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 spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.  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.

I read and experienced myself that parents see the benefits of discipline more easily than children. To a child, the idea that being punished because parents love you, never quite is the idea that comes to mind. From a child’s perspective, a parent’s loving discipline may seem unfair at the time, as they are too young to see that the lessons are being done for our own good, so they question and doubt the parent’s motives. Dr. Mark Beach asks: But, what about God’s discipline? As mature believers, are we grateful for it” Do we see His love in it, or do we childishly not view God’s disciple through clearer lens and question God’s wisdom and motives? Sometimes, in spiritual maturity, we need a reminder, as we slip into a forgetfulness of God’s Word that God’s fatherly discipline is actually an “exhortation” or an “encouragement”. We must not make light of the Lord’s discipline, nor lose heart because it is a positive, encouraging, and good corrective training action, not a negative or malicious action. They demonstrate that God has not abandoned or forgotten us as His sons and daughters by His fatherly care.

Proverbs 3:5-6 and 11-12 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 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.”

Dr. Beach points out that, as grown-ups, we appreciate our parent’s efforts in raising us. We respect our parents because they tried to better us and develop our character, teaching us “right” from “wrong’, how to guard our hearts, bridle our tongues, and live moral and virtuous lives. Likewise, our heavenly father disciplines us for our good, in order the “we may share His holiness”. It forces us out of ruts of sinful attitudes, actions, thoughts, and words. It makes us look at our hearts from a better, more biblical perspective. We must learn from God’s discipline, for “training” doesn’t take place automatically, just as going to school doesn’t guarantee that we learn anything. God uses all sorts of circumstances as attention-getters.

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

God’s Word is the organ of His discipline. Getting our attention with the disciple learned from trials and different circumstances, God’s Word in Scripture serves as the instrument of correction, to console, to rebuke, to train and restore us to an upright position before the Lord. Notice how close the word “discipline” is to the biblical word “disciple”. God’s discipline serves to make us Christ’s disciples, divinely designed to mature us so that we become more serviceable disciples in Christ’s church and kingdom. We are becoming a fit disciple of Christ from God’s fatherly disciple. His disciple is love in action.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Pause and listen to His voice. We are wise and obedient only when we bid good-bye to unbelief, break ties with sin, and, without regret leave behind our wayward habits, attitudes, grudges, questions and self-pity. In God we trust. Disciplined disciple, trust in God. Thy will, not my will, be done.

Hebrews 12:5-6 Have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

In Christ, Brian

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