Is God’s Discipline Always Good?
Boy, don’t you wish you had the faith of Moses? And don’t you wish you could say you have a heart after God’s own heart like David? And how about Paul? Talk about courage and boldness and faithfulness! I wish I were more like the Apostle Paul. Don’t you? Watch video.
But on the other hand, when I think about them, I have to be honest and admit that they did not get to be like that in a vacuum. Moses walked through a barren wilderness for 40 years, all the while dealing with obstinate and rascally people who sometimes even wanted to stone him to death because he did what God wanted him to do.
And David had to run for his life for years with King Saul trying to chase him down … scavenging off the land, living in caves and tents with his family and a bunch of other scruffy, smelly men and their families … and goats and cows. Without even a real bathroom.
And Paul… I don’t even like to think about all Paul went through to make him the man God could use to help shape the first century church and write most of the New Testament. How many times was he in prison? I remember that he was beaten almost to death at least 5 times. Maybe more. And he rarely was given the credit due him by the very churches he worked so hard to plant.
We want the faith of Moses. We want the heart of David. We want the courage of Paul. But we don’t want to have to go through what it takes to have them. At least I don’t. When I’m in the middle of hard things God is allowing in my life, what I want is for Him to get me out of it! I bombard Him with dumb questions like, “Why are You letting this happen to me? Don’t You love me?” I don’t want to experience “wildernesses.” I don’t want to live without conveniences. I don’t want to put up with rascally people. I don’t want people – and especially my family – to treat me bad. AND I want credit for what I accomplish, thank you very much!
But God has a different perspective. He sees the big picture … and what He sees is TRUTH. Here’s what He says in Hebrews 12:10-13: For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. I know that this is true for many of us. But for some, the discipline was abuse, not discipline. But the point is that our earthly fathers didn’t really get it right. But God does get it right. Verse 10: But God’s discipline is always good for us. Read that again. But God’s discipline is ALWAYS good for us. Why does God discipline us? He tells us: So that we might share in his holiness. So that we might be more like Him. Like His Son Jesus. That’s what He says in Romans 8 as well.
Verse 11: No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it’s painful! Yep, we have figured that one out, haven’t we? But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. God’s discipline results in enabling us to live righteously and have peace of mind. That’s the harvest we reap after all the hardship. So instead of our begging God to get us out of the trial, maybe we should be asking Him to do everything He wants to do in us through the trial.
Then the writer of Hebrews finishes with a pep talk. Yes, a pep talk. Verses 12 and 13: So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong. “Weak and lame.” That’s what I feel like when I’m struggling through a tough situation. How about you?
That’s exactly the time we need to give ourselves a good talking to so we can “become strong”! That’s when we need to remind ourselves these three never-changing truths about God. 1. God is all-powerful. He can do anything! He can solve this. 2. God is all-knowing. He can see around corners. He knows what this is going to accomplish in my life – in your life – to make us more like Jesus Christ. And 3. God is all-loving. He really, really, really loves me. Loves you! This struggle is not for our harm. It is for our good! Remember verse 10? God’s discipline is always good for us.
What do you need to do right now? Do you need to give yourself a good talking to? Do you perhaps need to confess that you’ve been upset with God because of what He’s allowed to happen in your life here lately? Do you need to choose to believe those three things about God I just mentioned? Choose to hang on to them for dear life? Choose to believe that God’s discipline really is always good for you?