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
Here's a thought to ponder: Christians are to count the Lord's discipline as joy, because God's active discipline in our lives is evidence that he loves us and treats us like sons and daughters.
Now, before you close this blog and move on to something else, please give me an opportunity to give some biblical evidence for such a pretentious claim. Let's head back to Hebrews again;
My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. | Hebrews 12:5b-6
Did you catch it? Are you tracking with me now? The Lord disciplines the one that he loves!
Don't get me wrong, discipline of any form isn't fun, nor is it easy; and discipline from the LORD, especially when we've grown accustomed to centering our prayers on receiving relief from God, is a particularly difficult pill to swallow.
Most of us would absolutely prefer to receive a helping of God's easy grace, without the side of his loving discipline, but the author of Hebrews seems to suggest that the absence of discipline can actually be considered an absence of the covenant love, which God grants to his elect. We see evidence of this in the absence of God's loving discipline towards unrepentant sinners in Romans 1:24, "God gave [sinners] up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity." In this example, God's judgement, was to say to these unregenerate sinners, "have it your way."
Therefore, when we read the words, "For the LORD disciplines the one(s) he loves..." we can and should rejoice! Even though the reality of loving discipline often includes difficulty, groaning, and pain...we can still find comfort (and hope), because God's discipline is always loving and is always used to heal and sharpen. And it is always for our blessing and his glory.
God's Word promises Christians that they will continue to grow into the likeness of Jesus Christ. But this kind of change always comes with some natural growing pains.
Before Christ saved us, we were sinners running a hell-bound race. We were engulfed in self-centered and destructive behavior. And without the saving power of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit, we too would be turned over to the lusts of our flesh.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ | Eph. 2:4-5a
And now, because we are God's adopted sons and daughters, he will not allow us to continue to live such reckless and destructive and godless lives. God's aim is, and always has been, to be glorified in and through those whom he calls his children. This can only happen through his correcting work as he transforms Christians into the image of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, may the reality of our Father's love for us, help us to be ten thousand times more eager to worship him for his loving discipline, than we are to question him for it.