This devotional series examines a verse or two from each chapter of Proverbs each day of January 2017.
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
Discipline isn’t easy and it’s not often fun, but the results of good discipline can be wonderful. Most everything good we do in life is the result of discipline. We learn to walk as someone guides us in practice over and over. We learn to run 5Ks or half or full marathons by committing ourselves to training and eating well. We learn to read books (and even blogs) because someone sat down with us and started with A and B and C, etc. We even learn good behavior and how to interact well with others as we are corrected from the wrong.
For most people, much of the early discipline we learn while we’re young comes from our parents.
This is what God does for his children, too. God disciplines us because he loves us. He has shown us his love through Jesus, but when we first come to Jesus we are spiritually reborn as infants. We must learn and grow. We must discover how to live for God and to discern between the good and the bad. So, God patiently guides, demonstrates, corrects, rebukes, and encourages.
Such discipline has its unpleasant moments, just as we experienced at the hands of our parents, but it is worth it to help us become more like Jesus. The way God rebukes us are many. He uses his word to teach, rebuke, and correct (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It tells us who God is, who we are in relation to God and others, of our need for Jesus, and how to live for Jesus. It shows us the sins we commit, those things we do that are wrong. It helps us to live in a better way as we put our sins behind and put on the goodness of new life in Jesus.
God also uses friends, family, and other Christians. A different proverb says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (27:17). This reminds us that in discipline and the confrontation of sin in our lives, sparks can fly, but the result will be a sharper blade—an instrument more useful for God’s purpose in this world. God at times also uses circumstances of life, death, sickness, and health to discipline (1 Corinthians 11:27-32).
In all of these cases, God’s discipline is not to be feared. He’s not causing pain just for the sake of pain. Rather, we embrace it, learn from it, and grow from it. Discipline is, after all, a good thing as it flows from the heart of the Father who delights in us as his children.