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The Delight of Discipline

Description

Don't view your difficulties as God’s punishment; see them as His promise.

Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal. (Job 5:17-18)

Few of us like discipline – at least, when it is headed in our direction! Yet discipline plays an important part in shaping our character and lives. Any athlete knows how important discipline is if they want to succeed; any parent knows how important discipline is if they want their children to mature, and not turn out as spoilt brats. Discipline is good for us. And God thinks that too. The Bible tells us that he is not afraid to discipline his children. Why? Because he is angry with us? No – because he loves us! God’s discipline in our lives is always for our good, never for our harm.

This is why the writer of the letter to the Hebrews – Christians who were experiencing discipline through opposition and persecution – went to such lengths to reassure them of the blessing and the promise that discipline conveys. First, he reassured them that ‘the Lord disciplines those he loves’ (Hebrews 12:6); second, that discipline meant ‘God is treating you as sons’ (verse 7), and not as illegitimate children (for a father disciplines his own children, not someone else’s); third, that ‘God disciplines us for our good’ (verse 10). He acknowledged the obvious: that ‘no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful’ (verse 11); but then he got them to life their eyes to God’s purpose through it: ‘Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it’ (verse 11).

If you have been going through hard times, don’t see it as God’s punishment (though the devil will try to convince you that it is!). It isn’t his punishment, but his promise – his promise to treat you as a son, his promise to do you good through it, his promise to bring a harvest of righteousness and peace. So don’t despise his discipline; but instead seek his grace to walk through it.

‘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.’  (Hebrews 12:5-6)

Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont

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