Why you can trust your heavenly Father’s discipline
I don’t need to explain to my kids when I get out of the Chick-fil-A drive before getting them a treat because they know their behavior is unacceptable.
I don’t have to rant and rave about it, nor do I owe them an explanation. They don’t like it, but they adjust their actions the next time because the discipline was fair and just.
The Lord does the same for us. I may get the discipline thing right from time to time, but God never gets it wrong. By the grace of God and the direction of His Word, we can see His discipline as good because it is molding us into who He knows we want to be.
Four Ways the Lord’s Discipline Is Good
1. God’s discipline is purposeful.
God never knocks us back without reason. Unlike human parents, He doesn’t misinterpret fun as foolishness because He sees our true motives. God knows our intentions and uses discipline to accomplish a specific purpose in our lives.
Discipline is a refining tool, not a harsh rod. When my child comes home with a bad grade, she learns that her lack of preparation isn’t working. While the low grade is disappointing, it ultimately teaches her to study better or differently next time.
Proverbs 12:1 says, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.” We can gain knowledge through discipline. Learning from our mistakes is the key to maximizing God’s training.
2. God’s discipline brings us back into alignment with Him.
An unknown author said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. We have to keep making changes and growing to move forward. If we don’t learn a lesson, we’ll keep revisiting the same consequences until we get it right.
When we’re headed in the wrong direction, the Lord’s discipline urges us to turn around. When we don’t seek Him and try to act without Him, we may suffer by going down the wrong path until we give up and align ourselves with him. Proverbs 14:12 warns us not to go our own way, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”
God loves us too much to leave us where we are.
3. God wants more for us than we want for ourselves.
C.S. Lewis puts it best in “The Weight of Glory,” writing, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Discipline can be a catalyst for great growth. God knows what we are capable of. But when we are stuck or headed in the wrong direction, the Lord may use painful circumstances to move us toward better things.
Change is hard but necessary. Our tendency to become complacent and content in the wrong places rather than believing in the dreams God has put inside of us. Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…”
4. God’s discipline is always just.
Our heavenly Father does not discipline because we hurt His feelings or made Him look bad.
God is 100 percent merciful and 100 percent just. While we struggle to hold both of characteristics at the same time, God does not. He will always do what is right, even if it doesn’t seem that way to us.
Just like we don’t send our kids into the world without proper training, God is working to train and guide us. Throwing a 5-year-old the keys before he has the skill and tools to drive would be cruel, not freeing. We train our kids because we love them and want to protect them. How much more does our Father do that for us?
God loves us too much to leave us where we are. Because we know He is working out what is best for us, we can fully trust him regardless of what we see or feel. When we don’t understand the situation, we trust Him knowing that His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Proverbs 3:11-12 reminds us, “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”
God’s correction is always good, just, merciful and fully loving. We don’t need to fear it or shy away from it. Instead, we can lean into and let His loving discipline guide us.