Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Discipline of the Lord, Our Loving Father Helping Us Grow

"My son, do not lightly regard the discipline of the Lord, nor be irritated or grieved when refuted by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves like a father disciplines a son he is pleased with.” (Proverbs 3:11-12/Hebrews 12:5-6)

Refute (sometimes translated as rebuke) here means to correct, to lead you out of false beliefs. It hurts our ego to be corrected or to find out that we are wrong but God wants us to live in the truth. Discipline here means "the whole training and education of a child." The loving Father raises us as His own beloved children. He nurtures us. He helps us grow.

It is for discipline (God spurring you to growth) that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline (help grow, teach, train, nurture)? 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 does not seem to be joyful but sorrowful or irritating, but afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:7-11).

We are already holy because of our birth in Christ (1 Corinthians 3:17). Jesus Himself is our holiness (1 Corinthians 1:30). To "share His holiness" means to share in the experience of His holiness. To reap the benefit of good, pure living as God intends. God may be very harsh with us at times to help us grow but it is never out of anger. God swore to never be angry with us again because of the blood of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 54:9). He disciplines us for our good. He has our best interests in mind.

We are already righteous (Romans 3:22). We are a good tree (Matthew 7:18). God wants righteous and peaceful fruit (love) to come out of us. God walks along side of us in love showing us affection, helping us grow, teaching us, & training us. Him doing this results in us trusting Him more and securely resting in Him (abiding). When we abide in Him we yield much fruit (John 15:5). That fruit is love (Galatians 5:22-23). Our abiding is the result of Him showing His loving kindness (grace) towards us and proving Himself to be trustworthy. His training results in our trusting which He uses to produce our loving. He loves us and His love (raising us as His child) causes us to love.

Jesus said in Revelation 3:19, "I refute and discipline those I love therefore be earnest and change your mind."
Here refute still means to correct, to lead you out of false beliefs. Discipline is a slightly different word that means "to teach and cause to learn." So Jesus was saying, "I lead those I love out of false beliefs and cause them to learn the truth. Let my love motivate you to eager sincerity to change your mind." In other words, Knowing that Jesus' love causes us to learn the beneficial truth. There is no reason for us not to be eager to allow Him to renew our mind.

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