God’s Discipline

For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart. 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.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we might share His holiness. 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. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed (Heb. 12:3-13).

According to the inspired author of the book Hebrews, our heavenly Father disciplines all of His children. If we are never disciplined by Him, it indicates that we aren’t one of His children. We therefore need to be aware of and sensitive to His discipline. Some professing Christians, whose only focus is God’s blessings and goodness, interpret all negative circumstances as being attacks from the devil void of any divine purpose. This can be a great error if God is trying to bring them to repentance by His discipline.

Good earthly parents discipline their children with the hope that their children will learn, mature, and be prepared for responsible adult life. God likewise disciplines us so that we grow spiritually, become more useful in His service, and are prepared to stand before His judgment seat. He disciplines us because He loves us, and because He desires that we share His holiness. Our loving heavenly Father is dedicated to our spiritual growth. Scripture says, “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6).

No child ever enjoys his parents’ spankings, and when we are disciplined by God, the experience is not “joyful, but sorrowful,” as we just read. In the end, however, we are better for it because discipline yields “the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”