FIRST-PERSON: God's discipline

by Chuck Lawless, posted Friday, August 10, 2018 (4 months ago)
Tags: discipline

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) -- None of us likes being at the receiving end of God's discipline -- especially when we're in the midst of it. Every believer I know, though, has been through it. If you haven't yet been, you will be at some point.

With that in mind, here are several things God's discipline does, drawing primarily from Hebrews 12:5-11:

1. It helps us to see the destructive nature of sin. God wouldn't discipline us for our sin unless He wants us to stop it -- and He wants us to stop it because it dishonors Him, hurts us and harms our witness.

2. It magnifies God's love for us. In His own words, He "disciplines the one he loves and punishes every son he receives" (Hebrews 12:6). His discipline is a mark of His care for us.

3. It protects us from future consequences of sin. That is the case, of course, only if we respond properly to His discipline by turning from our sin. Continual rebellion in the face of His discipline is dangerous.

4. It provides evidence that we are God's children. Again, here's what His Word concludes: "If you are without discipline -- which all receive -- then you are illegitimate children and not sons" (Hebrews 12:8).

5. It prepares us for the future. The battles change, but seldom does following God get easier along the way. God's hand of discipline that calls us to repentance today can strengthen us for the temptations of tomorrow.

6. It humbles us. Discipline forces us to admit that we're not in charge. We don't set the rules and we don't determine the repercussions of our wrong actions. Arrogance and disobedience are connected, so discipline and humility are often in order.

7. It makes us holy. Once again, let's turn to Hebrews 12 for the point: "He does it for our benefit, so that we can share His holiness" (Hebrews 12:10). The temporary pain of discipline helps conform us to the image of Christ.

8. It gives us peace. That conclusion may seem strange, but that's exactly what happens. God disciplines us, we turn to Him in repentance, we experience the grace of His forgiveness, and we sleep better at night.

What else has God's discipline taught you?

Chuck Lawless, online at chucklawless.com, is vice president for spiritual formation and ministry centers and professor of evangelism and missions at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
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