The Delight of Discipline.
“My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.” – Proverbs 3:11-12 NLT
The painful truth is, some of our most profitable times of learning have come through seasons of suffering. We tend to grow from our mistakes, learn valuable lessons from difficulties, and become stronger when we are at our weakest. As believers we have a unique advantage over those who have no faith in God. We, of all people, should understand that God loves us and is on a mission to transform us into the likeness of His Son. He is transforming us from the inside out, and the truth is that He uses trials and troubles in this life to accomplish His work in our lives. Being a believer does not exempt us from trouble. In fact, Jesus promised we would have trials and tribulations. Why? Because, like Him, we are aliens and strangers living in a land in which we no longer belong. We are not of this world anymore. Our differences will lead to difficulties and conflicts with the inhabitants of this world. There will be painful encounters as a result of trying to live for God in a godless environment.
But there will also be times when we suffer because of our own stupidity. We will do things that are not in line with God’s will. Like stubborn children, we will disobey Him and attempt to live our lives according to our own standards. In other words, we will sin. And when we do, God, because He is righteous and just, will be forced to correct us. He will lovingly discipline us. And when He does, we need to see it for what it is: A loving Father correcting His child because He knows what is best. Solomon told his son the same thing. But whether our suffering is coming as a result of living in a fallen world or because of our own sin, we need to have a perspective that sees God right in the middle of our lives, lovingly protecting and correcting us – all because He cares for us. Solomon also told His son, “Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:6 NLT). Solomon was wise enough to know that the best way to avoid correction was to live obediently. Do things God’s way. “Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom” (Proverbs 3:7 NLT). Don’t but the lie that you know what’s best for your life. Apart from God, we are all fools, living our lives in arrogance and ignorance. But because God loves us, He will not tolerate our foolish behavior, but will step in and discipline and correct us. And when He does, we need to understand that it is an opportunity for us to grow in wisdom, knowledge and understanding. We truly can learn from our mistakes. Our own sins, if we are teachable, can end up making us wiser. Rather than waste our suffering, we can benefit from it. But it takes a perspective that sees God’s hand of correction in it all and accepts His discipline as the best thing for us. The next time you find yourself in a season of suffering, ask God what He wants to teach you. Ask Him to show You what you don’t know about Him, yourself, and life in general. Ask Him to reveal your ignorance and replace it with His wisdom. Times of trials can be great seasons of learning.
Father, You love me enough to correct me. You never take Your eyes off of me. You know my heart even when I don’t have the capacity to understand what is motivating my behavior. Help me to see You even in the midst of difficulties. Help me to learn the lessons You have to teach me. I know I am going to make mistakes. I am going to sin against You. And I know You are going to correct me, but it will always be motivated by love, not anger. It will be corrective, not just punitive. Your goal will be to make me better, not to simply punish me. Thank You for that assurance. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men