Discipline is for Our Good!

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Devotional Word for Wednesday, July 29, 2020

When I say the word “discipline” what immediately comes to mind? Do your thoughts go to punishment? How about restraint?  What about order or training? The word “discipline” encompasses all these meanings. 

However, when we think about punishment or restriction or order or training, we tend to shy away from discipline because of its implications on our lives. None of us are drawn to being punished or restrained or ordered or trained against our will, are we? 

No, our normal tendency is to ignore or evade or deny being subjected to this sort of discipline. Some believe that if they are subject to discipline, they will cease to be who they truly are; that discipline will alter their personality, dismantle their values, even restrict their innate capacity to choose. 

And there are many examples in history of people who have experienced abusive types of discipline. We call it mental brainwashing or physical torture or sensual exploitation, which amounts to heartless and inhumane treatment, behavior and effects.

But not all discipline falls under these bad categories. In fact, good disciplines cultivate great achievements in education, music, art, science, sports and in the development of moral character. 

I believe good discipline is the focus when reading Proverbs 3:11-12, “My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD or loathe His reproof, for whom the LORD loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.”

This proverb captures for us the pedagogic value of discipline from the LORD; but it also reveals the heart of the LORD, who disciplines believers in love, just as a father, who delights in his son.   

After the writer of Hebrews highlights the hall of fame of faith in chapter 11, he turns the focus on Jesus Christ Himself, the Supreme Example; “who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.             

Then we read in Hebrews 12:4-6, “You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the LORD, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the LORD loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.” (Proverbs 3:11-12)  

Yes, we are right to think that discipline from the LORD is not easy and at times painful; for it will change our personality, redefine our values, and improve our standards of choice.  

Hebrews 12:11 “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.”          

But we must be subject to it; for the discipline of the LORD is motivated by God’s fatherly love for His redeemed children, so that we might be conformed to the image of His Beloved Son. 

For someone to be without the Father’s discipline is proof positive that person is not His; he is illegitimate and not a son. God’s discipline is for our good! Let us be subject to our Father’s loving care and purifying instruction of His Spirit, so that we may live and glorify our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.