"My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, not be weary when reproved by Him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom He receives."
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. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. 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.
God disciplines those He loves. Wow, that's encouraging as I look back at all the discipline I've received! Being a mom now, I understand discipline more than I ever have. When I was receiving the discipline as a child from my father, I always received it as punishment. It seemed unfair, unjust, unloving. Yet, now as an adult, I can look back and see how my dad was just looking out for my best interest because he loved me. Being human, we make mistakes, and I'm sure I will make a few along the way with my children. But God never makes mistakes. When He disciplines, He is correcting our sinful nature into holiness. He is making what is a wrong into what is perfect. A good father would do things to better his child, but our heavenly Father will do things to perfect His child. Our purpose in life is to glorify our Father through Jesus, and God will correct our ways through discipline to make us more like Jesus. Discipline is never fun. Discipline isn't enjoyable at the moment- even when you know you are being perfected. But it's awesome to see how God's discipline has made me more like Jesus! Here is an example in my life:
Typically I have an aggressive attitude. The Bible calls us to be gentle- and naturally, that's just not me. I have ruined relationships time and time again just in the way I have approached situations or how I have reacted to things people have said to me. It's not the best trait of mine, let me tell you. As a teenager and young adult, I wasn't really aware of it. Well, I guess I shouldn't say not aware of it- but let's say ignored it. Part of my aggressive attitude would be denial of it! My parents or friends would say something about it and I would freak out at them and act as if I knew nothing of it- infact, I would then accuse them of not knowing me and judging me. Sigh. That was me. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and the tranformation He has done in me, I truly believe that trait is almost obsolete. I say almost because if I've missed too much time with God and His Word, I see the beginnings of this habit starting to come out in me again. However, God has given me opportunities with my family, my family-in-law, friends and strangers that have done service in or to my home, to practice gentleness, even in the most frustrating experiences.
We purchased a home two years ago, and since then have found multiple things wrong with it. The people who built the home did a poor job and cut corners in every area possible. It has been very frustrating. One of the things we had to deal with was our well. We have a joint well with our neighbor, and the well that is on our property was not in use. The prior owners should have properly, and legally abandoned the well with cement. Well, we ended up having to do it. The man who came to do it did a poor job. To begin with, he didn't want to the job as it was a small paying job for a big labor job. I needed someone to do it, the DNR knew about it, and I had a deadline. I pleaded with this company to take care of it for me and assured him I would use his services in the future. He came to my property and began to fill the well with cement. (Now, you men who know about this kind of stuff- he needed to use cement rather than bentonite because our pump was stuck down in the well.) So there he went, filling the well with cement via a big hose. Well, apparently the end of the well wasn't capped and so we had a bunch of cement start coming into the basement through the bathroom! It was a mess. The guy should have made sure and not assumed that it was capped. But instead he had to clean up a big mess that was avoidable. So, to make a really long story short, our sump pump was ruined, our floors and walls had cement staining on them, and we had a mess of cement outside. He left it that way and didn't apologize for the mistake.
Now, the old me (only a couple years ago) would have reemed him out left and right, being very disrespectful and hurtful. However, because of God's discipline through practice and correction, I handled the situation very well. I remained calm, showing my dissatisfaction with what happened. I treated him with grace and much mercy. I obviously won't be using his service again, but the way I handled the situation was a display of Christ in me.
About a month after this event happened, I was taking communion at our church, and walking down the aisle after partaking in the communion I saw the man and his family sitting there. He was visiting our church.
It brings tears to my eyes. If I hadn't received loving discipline from my Father in heaven, I would have been extremely ashamed and embarassed that day. I would have owed that man an apology. But instead, I could walk with confidence that I treated him as Jesus would have, and as I passed by him, I could greet him.
What would have happened if I had the old Leanne "take care of the situation"? My ungodly example may have steered him completely away from Jesus by seeing me at church, partaking in a godly practice such as communion. My attitude and sinful aggression could have turned him off of Jesus, which would lead him to eternal death.
We need God's discipline. Without it, we succumb to our sinful nature and grow in it rather than growing in holiness. When you are enduring His discipline, know it is for your good- and God isn't punishing you, but rather correcting you so that you are more like Him. Ask God how you can be corrected, and embrace the time rather than rejecting it. If I had rejected God's discipline, I may have done much more damage- not only to me, but also to someone else. What do you do with His discipline? You know, just as an earthly parent disciplines, we still have a choice to obey and submit to the discipline and follow the guidance given for correction, or we can disobey and run the other direction. Which will you do?