I grew up in a family where there was no lack of discipline. I am the middle child thus my older brother received the most harsh discipline. Things were a little easier on me and then my younger brother. Well by this time my parents figured out what was of non importance and so he received discipline but I would argue it was a bit more healthy than some of the disciple of my older brother and I. My parents like all parents learned better ways of discipling us through trial and error. Similarly as a competitive gymnast there was no shortage of discipline at the gym. The kind of disciple I received at the gym was very different than the disciple I received at home with my parents. Thus I was exposed to a variety of forms and types of discipline. Now as an adult I have left my parents. I am no longer under their care. I no longer receive discipline from them. But my Heavenly Father, I am still very much under his care, sovereignty and discipline. For I am his child and God disciplines his children.
So today I would like to ponder God’s discipline of us his children. Healthy discipline is a good thing. For it is through healthy discipline that we often become aware of sin in our lives. Similarly it is through healthy discipline that we often become aware of our need for repentance. Similarly it is through this repentance that we mature and become more holy. What I have struggled in my own life is understanding what is discipline from God and what is my own mental illness. For things are not always so easily defined. My own struggles with mental illness often interferes with my ability to distinguish God’s discipline. For I have a tendency to think that all trials, hardships and struggles are a result of God’s discipline. This is not true in the slightest. Similarly my perception of self, sin and God is often tied to my mental state. So what is God’s discipline?
When we struggle with sin, when we wrestle with this battle and when we falter we often have consequences for these struggles. It often brings hardship in our lives. We become convicted of our wrongs. We suffer pain because of our sin. We then have to walk through a process. That will eventually lead to peace and holiness. This entire process is the process in which we are receiving God’s discipline. But God’s disciple should lead to repentance, acceptance of grace/mercy and peace. On the other hand the suffering caused by my mental illness does none of that. It leads to guilt, hopelessness, shame, inability to move forward and overall the opposite of peace. Similarly I would argue that people in my life that are not facilitating God’s discipline in a way that leads to repentance and peace are not from the Lord.
God’s discipline is an important part of every Christians walk. It is something we face often. But we should not grow weary of his discipline because God disciplines those he loves.
“In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 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. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.” Hebrews 12:3-12