“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves and He punishes those He accepts. Endure hardship as discipline.” Hebrews 12:6-7
God doesn’t want to constantly discipline his children any more than earthly parents want to. He tells us in Psalm 32 He wants to guide us with only His eye, but He also assures us that He will use bit and bridle if He has to. Earthly parents tend to either under or over discipline, but our Father in heaven disciplines us perfectly for our good. (Hebrews 12:10)
What is often imperfect is our response which can lead to a prolonged discipline that was never intended. Here are two natural, but wrong responses to discipline:
- “Do not make light of the Lord’s discipline.” We sometimes miss what God is trying to do in our lives, so we end up blaming people, the devil, or “bad luck” for something that God is trying to use to get our attention. Don’t just plow through life; listen for what God is saying. He wants to use our unhappiness to drive us close to Him so He can make us holy. (Hebrews 12:10) He uses hardship to soften us and beautify us if we will let Him. If we keep running away from difficulties He wants us to face, He will just bring larger ones until we finally slow down and listen to Him.
- “Do not lose heart when He rebukes you.” God loves us so much that He won’t let us go the wrong way without eventually intervening. If you think hardship is evidence that God has rejected you, you will become disabled by the very thing God intended for your healing. (Hebrews 12:13) When we believe the lie that God has rejected us, we end up on the disabled list and God waits for us to come back to Him like the father waited for the prodigal. When we doubt God’s love, darkness keeps us from the intimacy and adventure that should be ours in Jesus.
Let’s respond quickly to our Father and come out of the wilderness leaning on our Beloved. (Song of Songs 8:5)