"To be very dear to God involves no small degree of chastisement." Charles Haddon Spurgeon
A father sits with his son on the edge of the bed explaining why he's about to get a spanking. In loving and gentle, yet firm words he speaks about the consequences of disobedience. All the child can think about is how many times he's going to get whacked. But, deep inside, he knows that his daddy loves him, because he's demonstrated it in so many ways. He has a relationship with him.
Do you know how much God loves you? You are his child. Yet, there are times, when you're disobedient, that he needs to chastise you in love. Yes, in love. "The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." (Hebrews 12:6 NIV) We cannot forget that even as born again believers and adopted sons and daughters of God, we are still inclined to sin. You know, that's just a given. There's no one that can say that they don't struggle with sin.
What is sin for us as Christians? Disobedience toward a loving Father. And disobedience requires punishment. Discipline is what God uses to correct wrong behaviour, just like the relationship between earthly fathers and their children. "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! 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 12:9-10 NIV)
What does Gods discipline look like? Glad you've asked. It comes in many forms: sickness, the loss of a job, removal of blessings, broken relationships, church discipline, loss of business or riches, instability in the home, a personal confrontation a restless spirit, or a lack of peace. Many times, the punishment will fit the crime. Don't let some of the things listed here throw you off. Not all sickness is discipline, for example. But, it is a form of discipline that God chooses to utilize when he really wants to get our attention.
You may be suffering through discipline at this very moment in your life and haven't recognized it as such. What things are you suffering? Stop and consider whether God may be disciplining you in love. Is there a sin in your life that you need to confess and forsake? Do it - now. The discipline will continue until you submit to your heavenly Fathers loving guidance. "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 12:11 NIV)
God's purpose for disciplining you is always positive. It's to make you more like Christ. Sin leads to ungodliness, destruction, shame and death while discipline leads to godliness, edification, delight and life. "When our behaviour fails to align with our true identity in Christ, God disciplines us for our own good. He brings about correction so that our behaviour parallels our identity." (Charles Stanley)
So, be courageous today and allow Gods discipline to bring you back to a place of health and hope and peace and prosperity. You know its for your own good.
"Look upon chastising as God's chariots sent to carry your soul into the high places of spiritual achievement." - Hannah Whitall Smith
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The Lord diciplines those He loves....how true! Sometimes we recognize it for what it is and other times we think, gosh, I haven't done a thing to deserve this! It's hard to be thankful in the midst for this but so important to remember--living proof of the love of God. Thanks!