Discipline Equals Love
Yesterday I was able to spend some time with my younger brother and his kids. He has three kids that are under the age of seven, so things can get very interesting at times. One thing I noticed was if my brother told one of them to do something (or not to do something), depending on their mood, the response often would be something negative like “No!” or “I don’t want to do that!” At times they may even think their father is mean because he won’t let them do whatever they want. What they don’t understand is my brother has a reason behind why he is telling them these things – he loves them and is looking out for their best interest.
As believers we often find ourselves questioning why God wants us to do something or why he hasn’t allowed something to happen for us. We get mad at Him, stomp our foot, and say “No God, I don’t want to do that!” or “Why did this person get to do that and I don’t?!” Sometimes we go to the extreme of being so mad at God that we try to run from Him. Quite frequently God will just let us have our temper tantrum and then look at us and say “Are you finished yet? I know what I’m doing.” Other times God will just let us have what we think we want at that time and when we realize we were wrong He asks “When will you learn? I know what’s best for you!”
Now days it’s the norm to see parents out in public telling their kids “I’m going to count to three and if you don’t do (or stop doing) <insert whatever random act here>, then you are going to be in trouble!” A couple of weeks ago, our pastor started a series called Age of Kings. One of the main points he mentioned in the first week was “God doesn’t count to three.” He doesn’t say to us “If you don’t do this (or stop doing this) I’m going to count to three and there will be consequences!” He just lets us do our thing and suffer the results. He doesn’t do this to be cruel, on the contrary as Proverbs 3:11-12 tells us
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
Discipline is what helps us grow and what teaches us right from wrong. Dictionary.com has three different definitions for discipline:
- To train by instruction and exercise
- To bring a state of order and obedience by training and control
- To punish or penalize in order to train and control; correct or chastise
Which of these three definitions do you think of when you view how God disciplines you as His child?
Photo Credit: By Stephen Nakatani