Deuteronomy 8:5 Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you.
Hebrews 12:5-11 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” 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.
What does it mean to be disciplined?
Discipline is different from punishment. Punishment is getting what you deserve. God doesn’t punish His children. We deserve hell and we aren’t getting that. Discipline is getting what you need. God is a good Father taking care of His children.
In the Hebrews verses, could you pick out the reason for discipline? It’s toward the end. He “disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.” What does it mean to share in God’s holiness? What does holy mean? To show God’s holiness means the discipline is getting us separated to God, being set apart with Him. With Him is definitely what we want.
What does discipline look like? Any number of things.
I used to sneeze very early in the morning and then my nose would start to run and then I would know I wouldn’t be able to fall back asleep, so I would get up. The Lord was disciplining me to train me to get up out of bed when I woke up. I eventually learned that if I just got up right away when I woke up, then I had no problems with “allergies.”
We had a bee infestation this year. The Lord was training my focus. A bee would come around when I was trying to pray or read my Bible or worship. I had to learn to just ignore its presence and focus on what I was doing, not even look around for it when I heard it buzzing. Once I determined to do that and did, the bees went away without us doing anything.
Once, when I was questioning about hearing something specific from the Lord, even after He had confirmed for me that I was hearing His specific word, He closed my left ear for four months. Then one day it was just open again without me doing anything except pray.
Those aren’t big things. Certainly big things can come out of seemingly nowhere and rock our worlds. But God always has purpose in it when it comes to His children. He is in control and only removes His protections around us when it’s serving His greater purpose.
Romans 5:3-4 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.
God can use any sickness, pain, or problem to discipline us. We should always ask God to help us see, understand, and learn the lessons He’s teaching us through the things going on in our lives. We can also ask if there is a sin that needs repenting of. God wants us to learn and grow. He will help us to do it. We need to cooperate with Him. We tend to run to the world to solve our problems instead of looking to God and waiting on Him to work out His purposes, which will include the deliverance from it when it’s time. If God allowed the difficulty, then why are we trying to get away from it? Peter instructs us in how we should respond when trials and troubles arise.
1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
We remain humble before God. He’s God. We’re not. We’re not to accuse Him of wrongdoing. He’s doing everything perfectly. We remember who God is and who we are compared to Him. We remember that what we’re going through was allowed by our good, loving, sovereign God. He has a purpose in it and is working things for our good. We look to Him for deliverance. We look to Him to teach us and guide us through it. We look to Him to take our worries away as we wait.
And at the right time, it will lift, and we’ll be brought into the purposes He was working out.
Psalm 54:7 For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.
Psalm 27:13-14 (NKJV) I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!
Lamentations 3: 25-26, 31-32 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. … For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
Lesson Point: Trials and troubles are gifts from God. Instead of running from them, we can humbly submit to God’s discipline.
Challenge Question: Can you rejoice in your sufferings? Ask God to help you get the right perspective on whatever troubles you are facing.