“My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” — Proverbs 3:11-12
Is this anyone’s favorite verse? I bet you read “discipline” and immediately started scanning the page for a better promise. My hope is to change your perspective on discipline in the next few paragraphs!
This is a verse you should cling to and remember. If you are a son or daughter of God, your life will not always be easy because God loves you too much for that. He demonstrates his delight in you through his discipline.
How A Father Loves
This might sound foreign to you. Our culture is drowning in a sea of confusion about what love looks like, especially fatherly love. The world is so mixed-up about what it means to be a man and a father. (In fact, the grammar checker just told me I was using “non-inclusive” language by typing “be a man”! Oh, the irony.)
In this culture, you are presented with ideas of manhood that vacillate between self-centered, macho domination and self-doubting, effeminate passivity. Neither extreme is good. The idea of the man who is a faithful and loving husband and father, laying down his life for his wife and children, is hard to find.
Yet, this is exactly the image God chose to communicate his love for you. God is like the Father who is so committed to the good of his children that he will take the time and effort to discipline them when they are out of line. This is what a loving father does. He is not permissive, disengaged, or domineering. When a father truly loves his child, he is lovingly engaged in the child’s life so that he can gently and firmly shape his or her character. He will spend adequate time correcting and disciplining him or her. His delight is displayed through loving discipline, both formative and corrective.
Delighting Discipline Yields Peace
Perhaps the idea of discipline conjures uncomfortable memories for you. Maybe your parents disciplined you in anger too often. Or maybe the discipline in your life has been more akin to punishment or recompense. If this is true, that’s exactly where I want to change your perspective!
You must leave behind sin-marred, faulty notions of discipline. Instead, let the word of God renew your mind. God’s discipline is an unequivocally good thing in the Bible. Hebrews says when God disciplines you, he is treating you as sons. He is doing it for your good so that you may share in his holiness. He is training you to give you a life of peace-filled holiness (Hebrews 12:5-11).
If you are in Christ, God is your Father. He is a good Father who wants to give you good things (Matthew 7:11). So, receive his discipline with this in mind: He is working in you with the goal of giving you the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Holiness, peace, righteousness, adoption: what greater gifts could you receive? All of this is already yours in Christ. Yet, like anything else in life worth attaining, you will only grow in these things through discipline. Submit to God’s loving hand, and he will amaze you with the transformative power of the Holy Spirit. You have a Father who delights in you, and he only wants what is best for you. So, receive his discipline by finding your delight in Him.