by Pastor Tim Burt
If you’re a dad or mom, you know that being a parent is a lot of work. You also know that disciplining children is far from fun. Some parents are terrified that their children won’t like them because that’s just what kids say. I don’t like you. Or, I hate you. You know that children can provoke you to yelling (or should I say screaming) or to throwing out empty threats. Sometimes they tempt and drag you into inappropriate emotional outbursts that would cause you to feel embarrassed if anyone had seen you.
Do we sometimes blow it in our parenting skills and get as out of control as our children? Of course we do. It’s a learning curve on so many levels. But, though we do blow it on occasions, we can’t impose that on God thinking that He sometimes loses it with us. He doesn’t! Many Christians imagine God as sometimes short-tempered and angry with us, ready to do us in with lighting bolts to teach us a lesson. There are ministers of the gospel that teach that God is like this, but I assure you He is not. Remember Jesus’ words from John 10:10 (NKJV) “… I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Does God discipline us as His children? Absolutely! Does He chastise us with troubles or calamity or sickness or disease to teach us a lesson? Absolutely not! He corrects us but not in physical ways, but with His Word.
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 trains through discipline 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.”
So how does God discipline us? He disciplines us through His Word! You have to come to Him and chose to let His Word bring correction to your heart. Remember that God calls His Word alive and powerful! Hebrews 4:12 (NLT) “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” God’s word cuts to the chase and right through our lies and self-deception—that is, if we want God’s correction. But that is the key. Those who truly belong to God want to live for Him. They want to grow and mature and change their ways through the power of the Holy Spirit. If you won’t seek God’s Word and let Him correct you through it, then Hebrews 12:8 (NLT) questions whether you really belong to Him saying, “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 at all.”
When chastisement comes from God’s Word, you will feel conviction. Conviction can feel like guilt, but it’s not. Guilt implies that you’re guilty. Conviction is like a prick in your heart showing or reminding you that what you are thinking or doing isn’t right. Chastisement is when God shows you through His word, the correct behavior and attitude in contrast to your current behavior and attitude. From there He wants you to seek Him for help in making a change. It isn’t to beat you up or condemn you. It’s written to help you change into who you really want to be—His child! It’s liberating. It’s how God disciplines. You could blow it off because God doesn’t force you to do anything. You have to learn to love the correction from His Word and want it. When you do, then His Word will have the power to bring change to your thoughts, attitudes and behaviors.
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.
God is not throwing lightning bolts at you when you blow it. God is not accusing and condemning you! That is Satan’s voice. John 3:17 (NKJV) encourages us saying, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” God does want to help teach you how to rid your life of cursed thoughts, behaviors and attitudes. He wants to help you be effective and successful in your pursuit of His will in your life. Embrace chastisement which is the correction of His Word, and pray for God to help you change until it actually manifests in your life. Then you will grow to appreciate the chastisement of God’s Word and it will bless your life!
Proverbs 10:17 (NLT) “People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore correction will go astray”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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