As the oldest of four, I was the testing ground for my parent’s learning curve when it came to discipline. I generally did not like getting in trouble because I learned my folks were serious about reinforcing family, even Biblical, values and standards. I did not like getting in trouble, getting caught, and the worst of all, getting the repercussions of my disobedience. My mom and dad were equally capable of teaching and modeling that there are painful consequences to choosing to do my own thing without regard to their instruction, standards, and boundaries.
As I grew older I realized my parents disciplined me just because they loved me. They did not want me to grow up self-centered, rebellious, undisciplined, and with a poor attitude toward authority. The reality is if my parents had let me get away with my unacceptable-at-times behavior, including but not limited to: rudeness, disrespect, lying, stealing, and breaking family rules, I never would have learned how to behave. Imagine Bart Simpson as an adult! Even more significant is how could I love and respect my parents if they let me get away with anything.
Read Hebrews 12:1-13.
What would life be like if God never trained His children? What if He always let us do whatever we chose to and got away with it? Hint – look around the world for clues. We would naturally make a lot of bad choices, which would lead to brokenness on several levels – family, authority, work, local, state, national, and global. Just take a minute and consider how all of us have experienced a broken relationship with the resulting lack of peace and true satisfaction. In spite of our feelings, how could we feel loved by a God who would let us get away with anything?
But Scripture says God loves us and so He disciplines us when we sin. He says, “I love you too much to not stop you in your tracks when you break my standard. I call you to own up to your disobedience and ask for forgiveness. I will teach you the right way to go and give you the power to live according to the laws of my Kingdom. Hebrews 12:5-13 underscores how important God’s discipline is for our growth and for our maturity.
The writers of Scripture understood that God was after the love and obedience of all His subjects. The will of God according to the apostle Paul in Romans 8 is that we be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus. Discipline is for the development and maturing of our character…to become Christ-like as Christ-followers.
Without our surrender and the Holy Spirit’s help, we would go our own sinful way, never learning to submit to the good way of the Lord. God’s training at times is severe and feels painful, but when we submit to Him, it “produces a harvest of righteousness and peace” (v 11). I submitted to my parent’s authority and leadership, convinced they had my best interests in mind. I submitted to my high school football coach’s demands in order to play on the team, but also to get in shape and be trained to play to the best of my ability. In both cases, I needed help to attain what was possible for my growth, development, and a maximum level performance.
It is our choice. But I suggest it is wise to allow God to teach us what He wants to teach us, instead of getting angry and screaming, “No, I will do it my way!” That is acting like a child.
Walk wisely. How will you respond to discipline in your life? How will you respond to correction? If God did not love us, He would not discipline us. Trust Him and grow.
Love is a verb,
©2014 by Mike Olejarz