Hebrews 12:10 “… But God’s discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in his holiness.”
I was telling someone recently, “I love godly chastisement.” I’m not sure if they thought I was kidding. But, I wasn’t. I would rather be chastised by God than any man. God is gracious in mercy and always just. His goal is never to put me down, but to the contrary, to help me walk according to His ways so that blessing can overtake my life.
When I first became a Christian, I didn’t understand God. I didn’t know His character. I didn’t know His will. I didn’t know if He would rain lighting down on me or not when I messed up. I lived in unhealthy fear of God – by that meaning that I had twisted ideas formed from my own imagination about how God acted and how He might smite me every time I made a mistake.
On top of that, my lifestyle at the time I gave my life to Jesus was so filled with sin and ungodly behaviors, I struggled to believe that He could even love and forgive me. It was only the constant reassurance from the Pastor when he preached, from other Christians that knew God better than I did, and from what I could understand at that point in time from the Word of God, that I barely believed He’d tolerate me. Only having my mind transformed to know God’s will could change that and it would take time. Consequently, every time I read the word of God, I felt like it beat me up because I would see numerous things I was violating either in thought, or with my words, or through my behaviors. It always seemed to feel condemned. I continually had the fear that God was on the brink of giving up on me because I was changing into a Christian at a snails pace.
That was the source of my problem. I was thinking I had to change into this perfect obedience person to be a Christian and to be accepted by God. That was wrong. The moment I gave my life to Jesus, I was a Christian. My sins were washed away. My ability to get to Heaven did not rest in my ability to be good. It rested in what Jesus accomplished at the cross – He died and took my punishment for sin upon Himself.
Learning to become Christ-like in my thinking, behavior, and words would become a life long process and pursuit of God’s love. Because I loved Him, I wanted to be like He wanted me to be. Because of His love I wanted to live my life for Him – sharing His love with others. I came to know and understand this eventually but in the beginning, I struggled because when I compared myself to how I could see that God wanted me to be, I always seemed to be failing.
That pain I was feeling then and still do today when I am feeling convicted by God’s Word is called chastisement. It isn’t to beat me up or condemn me. It’s written to help me change into who I really want to be. It’s liberating. It’s also God’s discipline. As we humbly embrace and read God’s Word, He will speak to us. He will teach us His ways. He will lift us up with hope, encouragement and promise. He will also speak correction to wrong thinking, behavior and attitude. If we thought God was mad at us when we saw the error of our ways, we’d run from Him and His Word. But if we understand that chastisement is His love and that He is cheering us on to become more Christ-like, knowing it will make us more effective as we live and reach others for Him, knowing that as we become more like Him, it will usher greater blessing into our lives – then we’d rejoice and embrace it!
Hebrews 12:5-11 says, “And have you entirely forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you, His children? He said, “My child, don’t ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don’t be discouraged when He corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes those He accepts as His children.” As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as His own children. Whoever heard of a child who was never disciplined? If God doesn’t discipline you as He does all of His children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really His children after all. Since we respect our earthly fathers who disciplined us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to the discipline of our heavenly Father and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in His holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening–it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”
It’s critical that when you read these verses, that you understand that God isn’t talking about His discipline coming in the form of Him causing bad things to happen to you. Too many mislead ministers teach this in error. God disciplines through His Word. You have to come to Him and chose to let His Word bring correction to your heart. You could blow it off because He won’t force you to do anything. You have to learn to love His chastisement and want it. When you do, then His Word will have the power to discipline your thoughts, attitudes and behaviors as you examining yourself and the sin and problems and pain they cause others when you violate them.
God is not throwing lighting bolts. God is not speaking condemnation and accusation to you. That is Satan’s voice. God does want to help teach you how to leave cursed thoughts, behaviors and attitudes that rob your blessing, behind. He wants to help you be effective and successful in your pursuit of His will in your life. Embrace chastisement and pray for God to help you change until it actually manifests in your life and you will understand godly sorrow and chastisement and it will bless your life!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved