The Father Disciplines Those He Loves
by Margaret Silvester
Life was getting hard. Can anything else go wrong I asked myself? “Why are so many things going wrong for you?” asked one of my grandchildren. With a knowing look, I was encouraged by more than one person to get into spiritual warfare, but nothing in me could rise to this. Despite the growing difficulties, in my heart of hearts I truly believed the Lord was allowing them. Despite this knowledge, I plodded on, desperately trying to sort things out myself, and in my own strength. One day, God’s Father heart drew me aside, and, in a very clear way, He told me what He wanted me to learn – it was a revelation which changed me and the circumstances.
Not many of us are fond of discipline. Our understanding of it will often spring from experiences in our formative years, when we associated discipline with punishment. Discipline is a biblical word which denotes the training of a child, including instruction, correction and chastening to develop character, according to a bible dictionary. Children of God belong to the perfect Father, who longs to ever draw us closer to Him. He allows circumstances into our lives as discipline to develop our character, and to make us more like Him.
When we look back on the Lord’s discipline, we can be truly thankful for it, because it often takes us into a deeper understanding of God, His ways and His heart. When He disciplines us, He’s treating us as His children, and expressing His Father love for us. He never disciplines in anger. His divine purpose is always for our highest good, in keeping with the plans He has for us. Our Father’s nature is loving, compassionate and generous. As the perfect Father, He couldn’t bring any discipline into our lives that wouldn’t be for our ultimate benefit. More than anything else He longs for us to share in the holiness which is a consequence of being drawn closer to Him, often through trials and difficulties.
Unless we believe, in our heart, the biblical truth of the nature and character of our heavenly Father, the hard times when He’s disciplining us can overwhelm us. Discouragement and despondency can set in, with a sense that God has forsaken us, robbing us of the closeness of His continuous, unfailing, and dependable love. It’s wise to remember that we’re dearly loved children, and not victims of our circumstances. He’s working everything together for our good, and nothing can separate us from Him.
Spiritual warfare is a reality, and the devil is expert at sending his fiery darts. So it’s vital that we’re kept close to God in every circumstance of life, so we don’t waste time and energy in what we believe is spiritual warfare, when in reality the Lord’s disciplining us as children, who can never be separated from His love.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that, because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross, I’m Your dearly loved child, adopted into Your family, where I truly belong. Thank You that You love me with unfailing love, bringing discipline into my life to continually change me, and draw me deeper into Your Father heart. Please forgive me for the times when I’ve turned from You instead of towards You. I ask for increasing faith to trust You and obey You, in good times and hard times, and so bring honour to You. I pray in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.
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