Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. Job 5:17
Many of us, when growing up, would hear from our parents that they disciplined us because they loved us. As a kid, that’s hard to take. And, frankly, hard to believe. But as an adult, I can appreciate the truth in that statement. Out of their love for us, our parents wanted us to learn, and we learned (among other ways) through discipline. (Some of us learned faster than others, but I digress!)
The same is true with our Heavenly Father. He disciplines us because He loves us.
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. Rev. 3:19
God disciplines us out of love, in order to conform us to the image of His son. Although it’s not pleasant, we can be assured of God’s love for us in a time of discipline. As this hymn so eloquently says
The Father's love is sometimes found in troubles and hard circumstance, and in the rough uneven ground.
This hymn also encourages us to not lose heart when we are disciplined. It is for discipline that we endure, as the writer to the Hebrews reminds us.
It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Hebrews 12:7-8
The writer draws the parallel here that without discipline, we cannot be considered God’s children. And, just as we were disciplined by earthly parents, we should be subject even more do God’s discipline, because His discipline leads to sharing in His holiness.
Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. Hebrews 12:9-10
So don’t lose heart, no matter how hot the flame. As I wrote here, God knows exactly how hot to make the flame, and how long to leave you in it. He is perfecting us through the fire. His love works in us to break us of our stubbornness – and look what happens after we’re disciplined:
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Hebrews 12:11
I know I want the peaceful fruit of righteousness in my life. That requires that I be trained by discipline, trained by the One who loves me.
Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days. Prov. 19:20
God’s discipline, when recognized, understood and learned from, is a beautiful gift of love to us from the One who knows us best, and knows what’s best for us.
He who neglects discipline despises himself, but he who listens to reproof acquires understanding. Proverbs 15:32
The Discipline of God is Strong
Words by Jim Elliff
The discipline of God is strong
To make the sinning Christian bend,
Until affection, thoughts, and ways
Are each conformed to God's own end.
The selfish child must not forget
The Father's love is sometimes found
In troubles and hard circumstance,
And in the rough uneven ground.
Do not lose heart when you're reproved,
No matter how extreme the flame.
He turns the ground and burns the roots
Of suffocating weeds of shame.
We must not faint, nor are we free
To treat His love without concern,
When God takes love's severest course,
For lessons to be soundly learned.
Not all that's hard is discipline,
For we must train our minds to know,
That testing also from His hand
Is His design to make us grow.
We quickly should discern its source.
If sin, repentance is the cure.
If trials for obedience,
They only make the Christian sure.
Rejoice, my pilgrim, in His ways,
And do not doubt His providence.
He's never let a sparrow fall
Without divine intelligence.
Rejoice, His love works by design
To break our willful stubbornness.
No one could tame our raging lusts,
But God in His omnipotence.