When we experience God’s discipline because we sinned (versus suffering because of a trial) it hurts. Hebrews 12:11 says:
For the moment all chastening seems painful rather than pleasant.
Making it more difficult is the fact that God expects us to receive His discipline well. First Peter 2:20a says:
For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure?
God expects us to humbly accept His discipline the way parents expect their children to receive discipline without kicking and screaming. This can be very difficult! Fortunately, the author of Hebrews provides a number of reasons believers can still be encouraged by God’s discipline.
1. God’s Discipline Means You Are His Child
Hebrews 12:6–8 records:
“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.
When we sin and God disciplines us, we can be encouraged that He does so because He loves us. We want to be confident in our salvation, and experiencing discipline allows us to say, “God is my Father. I am His child.” When I see other people’s children misbehaving, I do not discipline them because they are not my children. God acts similarly toward unbelievers. Sometimes people sin and it looks like “they are getting away with it.” Either God is giving them time to repent, or they are not His children.
2. God’s Discipline Means You Are in His Hands
Prior to pastoring, I taught elementary school for almost ten years. When students disobeyed, I regularly found myself wondering what the appropriate punishment would be—detention, suspension, time out, or call parents? Circumstances make things even more complicated. What is the punishment for a student who lies once, versus a student who demonstrates a pattern of deceitfulness? What about a student who mistreated a student for no reason, versus a student who acts out when provoked? Continue reading “3 Reasons to Be Encouraged by God’s Discipline”