“It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us, and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” - Hebrews 12:7-11
We live in a time where discipline is thought of as a negative action. We are primarily concerned with our own happiness and want to do things that make us feel good. Discipline can hurt, make us feel guilty and bad about ourselves, so we would rather not be disciplined. We would like it if there were no consequences for our sins.
God is different. He does not tolerate sin because He is holy and righteous. As sinners we cannot even be in His presence (Exodus 33:20). When God disciplines us, it is for our own good because with it, “we may share in His holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). We can be thankful for God’s discipline because it shows that He loves us and that even though the discipline is hard, it is meant to change us into His image and draw us closer to Him.
To help us to appreciate discipline, it is helpful to contrast discipline with punishment. When the Bible speaks about punishment, it is in the context of judgement and is almost always used to inflict punishment for a crime or sin. In other words, punishment is not meant to teach and draw someone back; it is only to make the person suffer.
We can see this in passages such as 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10 and Jude 7 where the word punishment is used to describe eternal suffering for lack of repentance. Where there is punishment, there is no hope, there is only eternal suffering. Peter says in 2 Peter 2:9, “then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.”
We can be thankful that God chooses to discipline us so that, “when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world” (1 Corinthians 11:32).
Prayer of the day:
Dear heavenly Father,
Thank you so much for Your discipline. We admit that in the moment, we do not like the discipline because it does not feel good. Your words are clear that Your discipline is meant to draw us back to you. Thank you for not punishing us eternally in hell, but through Jesus, we are safe in Your arms in heaven. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!