God the God of Discipline
Seventh part of a Series
“My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”
Proverbs 3:11-12 (NIV)
From time to time loving parents have to discipline their children. We need discipline to help us grow up in the right way and not get hurt. It’s not always pleasant at the time, but it helps us in the long run.
And God does the same through the Holy Spirit, to teach us, give us a bit of course correction, and help us grow in His love. Like Jesus’ disciples we need him to teach us his way of life. And once we have accepted Christ and he is living in us, he starts to work with us to help us live the lives of love he wants us to have, and to control the sinful thoughts and attitudes that are contrary to this love.
Hebrews 12 refers to the verses from Proverbs quoted above, and then goes on to say, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what son is not disciplined by his father?” (Hebrews 12:7). As our loving perfect parent God will sometimes allow us to go through difficult times for our benefit in the long term. In fact He wants us to accept and submit to this discipline. Notice verses 8-9: “If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 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!”
If at least in hindsight we recognise the value of the discipline our human parents gave us, then we should have confidence that God’s perfectly loving discipline will have our very best interests at heart. As the passage concludes: “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. 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 12:10-11).
Father in heaven, we recognise that in your great love sometimes you need to discipline us for our own good. Help us to remember that even though it may be painful at the time, it leads ultimately to a harvest of righteousness and peace. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by Simon Williams
About the Author:
Simon Williams is active in the Cambridge Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.
Worldwide Church of God Cambridge
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