Did you ever receive a few “swats to the behind” while growing up? Was the “board of wisdom” ever applied to your “seat of understanding? It certainly was a common practice in my home! Did you ever, like me, have a delicious (but mandatory) washing out of your mouth with a big bar of tasty soap? (I wholeheartedly confess that it was my brothers and not me!).
It was the direct correlation between my inappropriate (and sometimes downright evil) actions or words and the subsequent discipline which made me realize what wrong actions and behaviors were! Discipline also reassured me that my parents loved me and really did want me to grow up to be honest, upright, truth-telling, respectful, and hard working. The direction of my parents discipline has made me into the disciplined person I am today. Sometime in our lives (usually during the college years), all of us became aware of the fact that we needed to behave and not do wrong things because they brought bad results and were both a detriment to us and tor our relationship with the Lord.
God is still in the business of helping us learn those hard lessons in life. Often He uses our wrong choices to help us learn important lessons. In Hebrews 12:5b-6 we read
My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son.
My parents wanted me to be good — to understand in my heart and mind (not just in my posterior) that doing wrong would bring bad results and would displease the Lord. There was always an specific purpose for their discipline, and it was always based on their love for me. It is no different with God.
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 12:10).
I am in training for godliness! What joy that brings to my heart and mind, knowing that my proper response leads to spiritual growth in my life!
What situation (either self-inflicted or that has simply occurred to you by no fault of your own) could be God’s discipline? Realize that the discipline of God is a manifestation of His love for you as His child! Determine to respond correctly and grow in godliness as a result of the pain, difficulty, or circumstance. Thank Him for it!