The blessings of divine discipline
Text: Heb. 12:3-11
One very obvious attribute of God our Father is that He disciplines us His children. Apostle Paul exhorts us in our today’s passage to embrace discipline because of its benefits or blessings. The word discipline can be viewed in many ways. As a noun, it is “the trait of being well behaved” and as a verb “the act of correction by way of punishment.” The truth is that if you are not disciplined, you shall be disciplined. If you are disciplined, you will attract less discipline. That means no one is exempted from discipline. It is high time we all began to ask ourselves, am I living a disciplined life? We must make deliberate efforts to desist from acts that attract divine discipline. May you be disciplined to attract less discipline. Self-discipline is the best and easiest form of discipline. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God. (Heb. 10:31)
• Three Counsels Concerning Divine Discipline.
When it comes to divine discipline, there are many ways we react. But Apostle Paul exhorts God’s children not to do two things and do one thing. The three things are:
• Despise Not (vs5)
Many of us are guilty of this. We despise discipline, when we shut our eyes to the Author of our affliction, refusing to inquire concerning the cause of the affliction. God “does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.” If therefore, He sends chastisement upon you, there must be some reasons, which you are bound to search out and discover. We also despise discipline when we resist the design of our affliction. Perhaps, God has convinced you to forsake sin and turn wholly to Him. But sin still keeps its hold on you and you have resisted the conviction of your conscience. At last, when God interrupts your comfort, pours contempt upon your idols, and chastises you, there is a tendency to despise discipline. Paul says, despise not divine discipline.
• Faint Not (vs5)
While the discipline might be tough on you, Paul says faintly not. The New King James Bible says, do not be discouraged.
All is not against you, for your heavenly Father is still for you and if you trust Him, He will make the “light afflictions, which are but for a moment, work out for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” (2 Cor. 4:17). There is always healing for your wounds.
• But Endure (vs7)
While Paul told us not to despise divine discipline and not to faint under it, we are exhorted to endure it. The word “endure” means the ability to stay true and stay strong in the face of difficult experiences. Endurance is the triumph of active faith in the recompense of reward. It must be exercised much in afflictions, so as to turn every constituent of distress into gold. We must endure divine discipline to receive the benefits.
• The Benefits
From our passage, there are three blessings or benefits of divine discipline among many. These are:
• It Proves Our Sonship (vs 6-8). God disciplines us because we are His children. According to the Bible, if we are left without discipline, we are not His children.
• It Tests Our Submission (vs 9). It is very easy to say with words of mouth that we have surrendered to Jesus. But divine discipline proves whether we have only submitted in words alone or truly surrendered to Him as our Lord and Master.
• It Has Great Profit (vs11). The Bible makes it clear that God does not discipline us for His pleasure, but for our profit. Divine discipline is meant to make us better when it is completed. We must, therefore, ensure we profit from it.
One day, a pastor found it necessary to punish his little daughter named Mary. But she climbed into his lap, throwing her arms around his neck, said, “Daddy, I do love you.” “Why do you love me?” the father asked. “Because you try to make me good, daddy.” This is the spirit with which God’s people should accept divine discipline. Are you under divine discipline? Despise it not and faint not. Embrace it, for it will turn out for your good. Do you want to experience less discipline? Then be disciplined. Eschew indiscipline and embrace discipline. God’s love for you is everlasting, no matter the situation.
Baptist Church, (Sanctuary of Grace & Glory), Baptist Academy Compound, Obanikoro, Lagos.