Most of us are familiar with the word discipline. We learn it from a very early age when we’re disciplined by our parents first of all, then by our teachers in school. Discipline is essential to our proper development as a person, because we need someone to show us how to live and behave in a proper way. It’s interesting that the definition of the word discipline is training that makes people more willing to obey, often in the form of the rules, and punishments if these are broken, or behaviour that’s produced by training.
As I was pondering about this the other day, I realised that discipline isn’t just about punishment, because that would only instil fear in people. Rather it’s a set of rules made to help us operate within the right boundaries in life, so we don’t fall into danger.
When we read the Scripture about the Lord disciplining us, it gives us insight into His heart, His desire to protect us. The Bible says that God disciplines and corrects those He loves. The purpose of His discipline isn’t to punish us and make us fear Him, but His desire is to instruct us into His ‘ways’.
Boundaries are made to protect us from the danger of going astray and getting hurt, but once we learn how to live within those boundaries, there’s no ‘punishment’. When people learn how to drive a car, there’s a set of rules they must follow and observe to be safe on the road. They must know the road signs, markings on the road, and how to drive. It would be foolish of drivers to say that those rules aren’t created for them, and they could do whatever they wanted to on the road. The reality is that those rules are there for the purpose of keeping drivers safe. If they drive observing those rules, there are no penalties involved, and the more they practise doing what’s right the less they feel limited by those restrictions, as it becomes part of their driving behaviour.
Our heavenly Father is the best parent, and because He is He chooses to correct us. That’s why the Bible encourages us not to lose heart and not to take His discipline lightly. Correction from the Lord is a sign of His care and love for us. ‘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’ (Hebrew.12:11).
Let’s learn how to embrace correction from the Lord with a grateful heart. He does it out of love for His dear children. And the more we learn to obey His voice and follow His ways, the less correction we’ll need.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your love for me and desire to see me walking in Your ways, following Your steps. Help me to receive correction from You when I go astray, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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