Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Handling Discipline As God Desires

Many Christians take the passage from Hebrews 12 about discipline & make harsh unpleasantness out to be the main or only way God teaches His children. It is true that it does say "the different types of discipline seem sorrowful in the moment instead of joyous." But Lamentations 3:33 says, "God does not make people suffer nor cause them sorrow willingly from His heart." So if discipline seems sorrowful to us it is because of how we handle it not because of how God intends it to feel.

Discipline is elsewhere translated as "nurture" & it has the meaning of "the whole training and education of a child." It does not mean punishment or harsh treatment. 1 Corinthians 13:6 says "love rejoices with the truth." If God corrects you by telling you the truth & you don't rejoice it just might mean that you don't love yourself. But it more likely & may also mean that you don't understand enough about how much God loves you.

If you take discipline, in regards to the portion where God is trying to correct your false beliefs with the truth or God is trying to walk you out of destructive behaviors, as God not thinking you're good enough so He is constantly trying to fix your worthless tail you will take that discipline with sorrow. But "God does not willingly cause people sorrow." Sometimes He knows it is an inevitable part of the process but His heart does not want it to be that way. He values you beyond your imagination. You are perfect in His sight but He wants to help you control & improve your flesh so that you can enjoy life & share His love.

So Hebrews 12:6 talks about how we might experientially receive God's discipline not how God desires for us to receive it. And I'm not at all talking about a "suck it up because you're supposed to take it like a man" type of thing.

The Lord said to me, "My love is all you need. My power brings an end to weakness." I will gladly rejoice about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may move in & take control of my weaknesses. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Instead of feeling sorrow because of the weaknesses of our flesh God wants us to rejoice knowing He will help us with all that we need. He does not intend for His discipline to cause us sorrow but He tells us in Hebrews that even if it does we should not let how we feel determine how we view our relationship with Him because we in fact are His "sons & daughters in whom He delights in, in whom  He is pleased with."  Hebrews 12 was to encourage us that we are His children who He loves & nurtures so we wouldn't take His discipline as something that is sorrowful or irritating. It wasn't, as so many have taken it, meant to say, "God's gonna whoop you so get used to it! God beats all His kids. When He takes that belt to your backside that lets you know that you belong to Him." That is garbage! Here are tons of scriptures that show you why that view is the opposite of how God treats us. You will see that growing our understanding of His unconditional love for us (His grace) is the primary way God helps us & changes our behavior.
  • God's love for us trains us to reject godless ways & worldly desires and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives. His love for us makes us eager to do what is good. He gave Himself for us to restore us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people who belong to Him as His very own dearly loved children. (Titus 2:11-12,14)
  • God's kindness leads you to change your mind for the better. (Romans 2:4)
  • Let us confidently draw near to the throne of God's gracious love for us so that we may receive kindness and find His love for us which helps us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
  • God is able to make all of His love superabound to you. His love gives you everything you need & is more than enough for you to do every kind of good work. He simply makes you rich in everything and produces countless reasons for thanksgiving. (from 2 Corinthians 9:8-15)
  • See to it that no one comes short in their understanding of how much God loves them. No root of bitterness will spring up & cause trouble if we understand His love for us. No immoral or godless person can stand the pure love of God without being sucked into it & freed or angrily walking away from it. (Hebrews 12:15-16)
  • Allow the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father to comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word because He has loved us and given us eternal comfort & good hope by His gracious love for us. (2 Thessalonians 2:16)
  • It is good for your heart to be strengthened by God's love for you. The love of Jesus Christ for you is the same yesterday and today and forever. He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we could confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?” The more you recognize God's love for you the less you will be carried away by various teachings. (Hebrews 13:5-6,8-9)
  • Keep on growing in your knowing that God loves you. Learn of Him from Him & you will not be carried away by the error of those who seek the flesh, instead your mind will stand firm in the knowledge & love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18)
  • Jesus said, "I will treat you with gentleness & humility. I will walk with you, work with you, & teach you. I want to give you rest, wisdom, enjoyment, & ease." (Matthew 11:28-30)
As we grow in the understanding of how much God values us & loves us as His children we will be able to see the difference between our feelings of shame & His voice. Our shame-filled & insecure self-centered pride will be displaced by God's proudness of us. God has a proud opinion of us. We don't need our pride, we need His pride. He loves us more than we could ever love ourselves & He has all wisdom to love us perfectly without harming us.

Listen to what I am about to say because it is reliable. "When the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of good deeds we have done, but according to His compassion. We have been made whole by the Holy Spirit's washing which restored us to who we were uniquely meant to be and changed us into children of God. He richly poured out His Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior and we have been made righteous by His love for us. We are now heirs with Christ to everything God has as we are holding onto the expectancy of continuing our eternal life with Him." When people who come to trust in God understand this they will seek to do good with eagerness & wisdom. (Titus 3:4-8)

Related Posts
The Discipline of the Lord, Our Loving Father Helping Us Grow
Grace is God's Love for You

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