Discipline is a good thing!
“If you’re facing what you know to be a time of discipline – rejoice because God considers you worthy enough, because if you were not His child, you would not suffer His discipline.” (quote by Matthew Henry)
Haven’t done this for a while…some encouragement – if you have 5 minutes – is found below 🙂
So, Jo and I couldn’t sleep last night – many weeks of a virus being passed around the Berrybunch home has totally messed up our sleeping times as a family!
Anyway, Jo had been reading Hebrews 12:3-11 (I’ve included it in full at the bottom of this post) and we read it together. I was specifically drawn to verses 7 & 8. Wow, just wow!
I then found a commentary by Matthew Henry (check out the BibleHub app if you want access to many commentaries and versions of the bible, for free! it’s superb) and I had what can only be considered as something of a major, metaphorical and spiritual slap to the back of my head.
Right there in verse 7 is one of the most powerfully encouraging pieces of scripture I think I’ve ever read in my 35 of years walking with Jesus:
“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?”
A first glance it is almost as if we suffer in this life because of God. But that is to miss the point entirely. Paraphrasing Jeff Lucas – we should never be happy that we are suffering; rejoicing in our suffering most certainly does not mean that! Matthew Henry puts it this way: “They [Christians] must not make light of afflictions, and be without feeling under them…”
Emotions are healthy – God has them too.
If you’re facing what you know to be a time of discipline – rejoice because God considers you worthy enough, because if you were not His child, you would not suffer His discipline. If that doesn’t encourage us I’m not sure what could?!?
Matthew Henry makes it a little easier to understand and this is what hit me so very hard:
“God may let others alone in their sins, but he will correct sin in his own children”.
We’ve felt pretty got at for a while; pretty disciplined. I’m sure many of you are looking at other people and wondering why an earth God’s wrath and vengeance doesn’t smite them instead of what you and I feel is being directed at us instead.
But, that is the point, God only disciplines those He loves.
If you’re facing what you know to be a time of discipline – rejoice because God considers you worthy enough, because if you were NOT His child, you would NOT suffer His discipline.
It isn’t that He wants to hurt or upset us – that is simply not His nature. He loves us ‘…and His plans are to prosper us…’
But, nicking a line and paraphrasing it from Corrie Ten Boom…‘tough times now make us more ready for heaven’.
Are you feeling disciplined? You’re in good company!
Are you frustrated that those around you aren’t being punished? Then rejoice for your salvation – and pray for theirs!
God is good. He uses discipline to better enable us to serve Him in this life and to prepare us for our Heavenly life when we leave this one.
A little more meat from this incredible passage of encouragement..(borrowed from Matthew Henry again):
“Let us then frequently consider him [Jesus]…There is a proneness in believers to grow weary, and to faint under trails and afflictions; this is from the imperfection of grace and the remains of corruption”.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the struggles I’ve been through lately, I know, are God’s way of making or providing me with opportunities to become more like Him. And the only way for this fallen and fallible human being to be made more like Jesus is for me to lose more of myself, in order to gain more of Him.
“What has light to do with darkness?” Well, I have plenty of darkness left yet to be restored and made righteous….lots, and lots and lots of it. And Jesus will not force His way in my heart – that is simply not in His nature. He waits until we invite Him. And once we do, He cuts away the darkness so we can become more like Him. The process is never painful like we think it will be, and we always lose things we know we didn’t really want to keep anyway, or at least once they’ve been delicately and carefully removed from us.
A little like trimming a wick, admittedly not something we have to do much these days. But if you don’t trim the top of a wick before relighting that candle, you are going to get smoke with the light the candle is creating
I know I want to be more light than smoke!
So, I rejoice in my sufferings – I’m not happy I’m suffering (quoting Jeff Lucas again, that is absurd and not what it means at all!. No, I rejoice because I know that in going through discipline, I am a son of the Most High King, and my enduring discipline is proof of that.
So I will rejoice in my sufferings because I know it means I have a place in heaven, and that is worth celebrating and rejoicing in!
3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7 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? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 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? 10 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 his holiness. 11 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. Our struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.’[a]
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined – and everyone undergoes discipline – then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 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 spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 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.