The Blessing of Discipline
BY EVAN REISTER
September 9, 2017
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:11 (ESV)
Normally, people do not look forward to being disciplined. As a kid, no one wants to be put in time out. As a preteen, no one wants to be grounded. As a teenager, no one wants to have the car taken away or have an early curfew. And as a Christian, no one wants to be disciplined by God. We may want the fruit that comes from being disciplined, but we want that to come quickly and easily. However, as the author describes in Hebrews 12:11, the fruit comes later rather than at the time of the discipline. So, naturally, we don’t want to be disciplined by God. We are a people consumed by the need for instant gratification and having to wait for anything seems like a horrid chore. But I assure you that the fruit of righteousness that is a result of God’s discipline is far worth the wait.
In fact, we should desire God’s discipline and the subsequent changes far more than any earthly pleasure or comfort.
When God disciplines us, it demonstrates that we are sons and daughters of the King of the universe. “It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons” (Hebrews 12:7-8). Godly discipline looks different for everyone. For some, it may present itself as a tough life event such as personal disease or a death in the family. Job went through quite a bit of this discipline during his life by losing his livestock, offspring and health in a super short time period. For others, discipline may be days, months or years struggling with a certain sin. Thomas was one of the twelve disciples chosen by Jesus, yet he constantly battled doubt and unbelief. And then there are those that will feel like God is absent for long periods of time. This is certainly how the Israelites must have felt when God exiled them to Babylon for 70 years. However hard it must have felt for the Israelites, God was disciplining them for their own good. Thank goodness we have a God that cares for us so deeply.
Each trial, tribulation and sin can be used by God to make us more like Him and so that we depend on Him more.
When I was a kid, I would get spanked every once in a while by my dad. I would cry and cry and cry before I was even spanked, expecting it to hurt more than it would if I broke every bone in my body falling off a cliff. When the spankings would finally come, I remember always being surprised at the fact that they never hurt nearly as much as I thought they would. One time I even remember laughing in my dad’s face because of how much the spanking didn’t hurt. But each and every time I was spanked, I changed my behavior (for the most part … or as much as a 5-year-old could change his behavior). And the change definitely wasn’t because of the spankings; I would have kept doing the same things over and over if it was only about the spankings. In all reality, the main reason I would change my behavior was because I knew I was disappointing and upsetting my dad. I think this is how God wants us to feel when He disciplines us.
No matter how painful God’s discipline is, and it may be super painful at times, we will never have a heart change if we’re just focused on the pain.
Real change will only come when we focus on God and see Him as supremely valuable. We will then submit to Him and His discipline eagerly, knowing that He loves us as stated in Hebrews 12:6 (ESV), “For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives.” If we hate disappointing and upsetting God, we will view His discipline as a blessing in this life.
This post is entirely the opinion of this week’s writer and does not necessarily reflect the view of Northview Church as a whole.