Read: Proverbs 12:1-14
Consider: If I was to ask you if you love discipline, what would be your answer? For some of us the word ‘discipline’ conjures up the authoritarian discipline we were subject to at school, while for others it might be the harsh treatment they suffered at the hands of a parent. If that is how you think of discipline, it is unlikely that you will ‘love discipline’. So how can the writer of Proverbs say that there will be those who ‘love discipline’?. The writer of Proverbs is not necessarily thinking of human discipline, although it is important for each of us to be corrected when necessary.
If we move away from human discipline to consider God’s discipline, it should give us a very different view of what may be meant by this verse from Proverbs 12. We read this earlier in Proverbs: 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 (Proverbs 3:11-12). God is not interested in treating us harshly, but rather he corrects and rebukes us to firstly, mould our character for Christian living and, secondly, to correct any misconceptions or misunderstandings we might have about applying Bible teaching to our lives. We always need to keep in mind that God’s motive for disciplining us is love. He loves us so much that he is willing to expend time and energy on us, to ensure we develop into the person he wants us to be.
In Hebrews 12:11 we read: No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. We can all identify with this sentiment, recognising that God׳s discipline can be unpleasant and can make us feel bad. However, God recognises the long-term effects of his discipline on moulding our character. Did you notice the link between ‘discipline’ and ‘training’ in the verse from Hebrews? The writer of Hebrews expresses the view that God’s discipline is actually God training us. This must be for our earthly life in his service and also training us for eternal life.
How do you see God’s discipline? Do you see it as being expressed from his love for you, with the ultimate goal of refining your character? Do you believe that God’s discipline is actually training? As we will never be perfect during our earthly life, we should expect God’s training to take place throughout our life. It is not a sign that God is angry with us, but rather that God sees something in us that warrants his loving correction. As with any discipline from God, we have to be willing to submit ourselves to him. Our submission should be out of love for God, recognising that he knows best how to mould our character to better serve him.
Pray: Father, we thank you for your loving discipline that seeks our good and not our hurt. May we willingly and humbly submit all of our lives to your scrutiny and your loving correction. Amen