A loving father disciplines his child to teach him right from wrong and develop good character. No child enjoys the discipline at the time, but in later years understands, in wisdom, it’s necessity.
Hebrews 12:5 exhorts us : “…..My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked of Him. For whom the Lord loves, He chastens….” God’s chastening of us then, is a demonstration of His love. It is correction to us from a loving Father to benefit us. When I kick against my circumstances, the truth is that I am fighting God! I need to stop fighting, surrender and invite God to work with me IN my circumstances instead of praying deliverance FROM them.
A child that is allowed to have his own way and never corrected, is either a child that is not loved by his parent, or is being raised by a parent who has a wrong conception of love. A child that is lovingly disciplined matures into adulthood to accept the roller-coaster of life. Whereas a child that is always given in to grows into a petulant adult, disliked by society in general, has few lasting friendships and is unable to cope with adverse circumstances. The sadness is their will has never been broken and thus has no coping strategy when it is crossed and things don’t go their way.
The chastening of the Lord is not a punishment. Before we came to know God, any adverse situation that resulted from our sin was viewed as punishment, “the wages of sin”, (Romans 6:23). When we crossed over into the kingdom of God through salvation, punishment is replaced by loving discipline coming from the hand of our Heavenly Father seeking to conform us to the image of His Son, (Ephesians 4:13).
The discipline of God may start on the outside, but there is an inside work that is needful to surrender the “right to myself”, that is, my will. Jesus embodied all the fullness of God because He always chose the Father’s will before His own. Even in His final struggle in Gethsemane when He did not want to die, He surrendered His will, (His right to Himself), and prayed, “nevertheless, not My will, but Thine be done”.
We will never experience the fullness of God as Jesus did, until we fully surrender. “Nevertheless” …..Jesus nailed it, the lesser walk is my will. “Thy will be done” to the Father, is the highest. In this choice we are being conformed to the image of the Son and His life and character comes forth in us, to the glory of God. Father does the work, His is the credit! Ours is all the benefit….joy, peace and enabling strength to live this life no matter what the day brings.
Hebrews 12:10 continues in showing us that our Father’s chastening is “….for our profit that we might be partakers of His holiness”. If we submit to His correction and embrace it, change takes place within us. It is a tool used in the process of divine exchange!
This loving discipline has purpose. Verse 11: “Now no chastening for the present seems joyous, but grievous : nevertheless afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who are exercised thereby”.
God uses every circumstance in our life to bring us to “the full stature of His Son”, (Ephesians 4). Even in this pandemic, God is at work in us to bring us to enjoy His “peaceable fruit of righteousness” as we embrace His loving correction.
God is not a hard taskmaster, but a loving Father. He is righteous, just and perfect in all His ways and knows, in His wisdom, how to chastise us.
Don’t ask God to change your circumstances, He sent them to change you!
God’s discipline is kind. He treats us as sons and daughters. The King of love has sent for us, called us by name, to make of us a vessel fit for purpose, to be conformed to the image of His Son, that God will be glorified in His vessels of honour.
Eventually God’s discipline becomes an acquired taste. As I surrender, my rebellious disposition is replaced by the nature of His Son and I learn that His will is always best. Each day I have the ability to choose, my will, or Father’s. Every day is a day of learning and living to the glory of God, knowing and trusting that He has a higher plan than I have for my life. The test is to trust Him with my circumstances and not step backwards in to unbelief, which hardens my heart towards God, (Hebrews 3:12).
When life takes that downward plunge, remind yourself of the words of the old song:
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will look strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace”.
Stop fighting, start inviting!