“‘My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects.’
God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.
So don’t sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it!” Hebrews 12:6-13 (MSG)
Most people do not like to be reprimanded. Whether it was by a parent while you were growing up, a teacher at school, or your boss at your job, it can be a challenge to openly welcome discipline. We shy away from discipline, because it is uncomfortable. We would rather do it our way. The desire to do things our way doesn’t stop after we reach adulthood. There is still a desire to be in charge and in control and to follow our own path. However, this perspective can create internal tension as we struggle through letting go of our way and choosing to live life God’s way.
The writer of Hebrews understood that doing life God’s way would not always be comfortable. While using the comparison of parents disciplining their children in order to help them, it brings to life the reality that God’s discipline isn’t a burden but rather a gift. It reflects God’s love for us, not harshness. Good parents want the best for their children, so they try to train their children in the way of right living. It might mean that you don’t always get your way. Even more than good parents wanting good things for their children, God wants us to experience His very best. He knows that the training and disciple will bring us into that place. It will mean that we won’t always get our own way. Although it might seem that God isn’t for us when we don’t get our way, it shows that God is indeed for us, because He sees in the future what we can’t see today. He is more concerned about us living in God’s best rather than living a “good enough” life. Through the refinement process, we have the opportunity to step into our God given destiny. Few actually enjoy the training process; it is the reward that keeps them pressing on. In your life, God is working to bring you into your full potential. He sees in you what no one else can see. In the process of refinement, it can be uncomfortable and difficult. Yet, God is preparing you today for the future He has for you. If you are in the midst of growing in your relationship with God, and there are some growing pains, rest assured that God is working deep within your heart to bring you to the point of experiencing His best. Only when we understand this reality can we celebrate discipline as God works His very best into our lives.
Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.