For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child. Hebrews 12:6 NLT
Johnny slumped in his chair. His grades had slipped, along with his attitude.
Since returning after Christmas break, teachers had witnessed the decline. Along with his I-don’t-care attitude came the tendency to talk when he shouldn’t. He talked while the teacher talked. He talked when he was supposed to be working on classwork. He talked to other classmates who attempted to do their work. Although a minor offense—all things considered—Johnny’s talking disrupted the class and demonstrated disrespect for his teachers and fellow students.
After receiving a few lunch and learns and discipline slips, his mom called for a conference. Johnny attended. His posture reflected his attitude. Teachers expressed their concerns, mom expressed hers, but Johnny seemed unconcerned. Finally, after the lead teacher and classroom teachers expressed their concern to him, Johnny seemed to perk up. Perhaps, he thought he was going to escape discipline. But he didn’t. The lead teacher instituted disciplinary measures. He wasn’t thrilled but assured us he’d do better. Time will tell.
Johnny’s not the first student I’ve taught who I’ve had to discipline, nor do I expect him to be the last. Just as I disciplined my children when they were home, so I do with my students who stray from the standard by not following the rules.
Children and students sometimes mistake discipline as cruelty, but actually, it’s a form of love. The writer says the same of God. He disciplines His children because He loves us, not because He hates us and wants to make our life miserable.
God’s discipline comes when I choose to disobey His rules and principles. Rather than make my life unbearable, these rules are designed to lead me to the best life ever. God knows this—and this is why He gave them—but I sometimes don’t know. His discipline teaches me to obey Him. Even young Johnny knew the purpose of discipline when we asked him.
God disciplines because God loves, just as teachers do students and parents do children. If He didn’t care what I did, He’d let me go my own way without intervention. His discipline proves love, just as the teachers’ disciplinary measures demonstrated love for Johnny. We had high hopes for him, as God does for His children.
When God disciplines you, thank Him that He cares enough to intervene in your life.
Tweetable: Is God disciplining you?
Prayer: Father, help us respond positively to Your discipline, knowing You send it because You love us.