When I was a little girl, I sometimes got into trouble and was disciplined by my dad. Afterward, he would hold me in his lap and reassure me of his love for me, and then he would pray. Those were intimate moments, in which I felt known and cared for. I never doubted his love for me, and I believed him when he said that it hurt him to have to correct me. Seeing his hurt probably did more to adjust me than the discipline did. I had a fierce devotion to him and have always known his example of fatherhood was the best earthly evidence I would ever have of the Father heart of Almighty God.
Hebrews 12:5-7 says, “…’My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are punished by Him; for whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He punishes every son whom He accepts.’ It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” (NASB) These words do more than comfort me because I know the validity of them from personal experience. The times in my life when I have known the Lord’s discipline are some of the most intimate moments I have shared with Him.
He has a way of penetrating my heart with the most excruciating kindness, and I find repentance comes to me out of His tender mercy. I am known by Him in the deepest part of me, and there He reveals His own character to me. To know Him is to love Him, and to love Him is to obey Him. He says in John 14:15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” And then in verse 21: “The one who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will reveal Myself to him.” (NASB)
It is the revelation of Christ that changes me and allows me to exchange my flawed character for His. Instead of selfish ambition, I get to lay aside my own interests and prefer others. Instead of fearing what others think, I get to rest in His forgiveness, acceptance and grace. Rather than striving in anxiety, I am afforded the assurance of faith and the strength of His joy to overcome in the trials of this world.
“For the moment, all discipline seems not to be pleasant, but painful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” (Hebrews 12:11 NASB) I don’t know about you, beloved, but for me there is no safer place than under the mighty hand of God, even if that hand is pressing on me to change my way and return to His.
Until next week, beloved, be trained by His loving discipline and experience the peaceable fruit of righteousness.