No child loves it, and I sure didn’t either.
My parents believed the rule: “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” I was never abused, but I was introduced to various measures of discipline. Dad’s black belt was reserved for those times when I was hatefully rebellious—not for little minor mistakes.
More often than not, however, the discipline was taking something away: television privileges, going outside, a favorite toy, my bicycle, my skateboard. My take-aways may seem unimportant, but they worked just the same. What Mom and Dad took away for a certain period of time depended on what age I was. And the discipline worked. It got my attention and headed me in a different direction—at least for a time.
First century Christians had many things to draw them away from God. They faced persecution from foreigners and from relatives who didn’t believe in Jesus and who wanted them to return to the Jewish customs. Idol worship was also rife. When they gave into any of these things, God sent discipline.
God disciplines me for the very same reason my parents did. I’ve gotten off track in some area. The discipline will re-orient me if I don’t ignore it—which God cautions me against doing. God’s discipline has purpose; it’s not a random act of cruelty. His discipline is not designed to discourage me but to encourage me.
As painful as it might be, God’s discipline reminds me I’m his child. My parents didn’t discipline other parent’s children—unless they had permission. They were only concerned about me because I belonged to them, because my behavior reflected on them, and because they had a mandate from God to do so.
God wants holiness from me. And while I’m that in position through Jesus Christ, I’m not in practice. I’ve often need a little stern yet loving guidance.
How do you respond when God disciplines you?
Prayer: Father, may we endure Your discipline joyfully knowing You have our best interests at heart.
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