TO THE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE
"My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by him; for those whom the Lord loves he disciplines, and he scourges every son he receives."
I was in eighth grade when I got sent to the Principal's office. I had crossed the line with my teacher due to excessive talking in class. She had had enough, and off I went. Going to the office typically meant one of two unpleasant things: swats or after school detention (two hours of time out).
My friend Mike was my partner in crime on this occasion, and he was sent to the office with me. Neither he nor I wanted to stay after school for two days of Detention Hall, so we opted for three swats. Mr. Sheridan, the Associate Principal, had the honors. After warming up on Mike, he went to work on me, heartily applying the board of education to my seat of understanding. I got the spanking of my life that day. It hurt, and it got my attention.
THE DISCIPLINE OF GOD
Every Christian knows about the discipline of the Lord. We have all been sent "to the Principal's office" so to speak. God is a good and loving Father. When His children sinfully wander from Him, He is faithful to lovingly go after us and bring us back in line. He disciplines us for our good. Sometimes the discipline is Detention Hall in the belly of a great fish (see Jonah), and sometimes the discipline is a pig sty à la the prodigal son. But here is the question: how do you respond to the Lord's discipline?
There are two wrong ways to respond:
1. You regard His discipline lightly. When you do this, you are basically blowing the Lord off. You have no intention of letting the discipline change your behavior. God forbid that we would ever regard His discipline in such a flippant, irreverent manner.
2. You faint when He reproves you. When you do this, you are basically taking his reproof to such an extreme that it debilitates you. With this response, you find it hard to keep going because you have displeased the Lord. Those who "faint when reproved" tend to feel as if they are damaged goods and don't deserve to live.
I have found that Christians tend to gravitate toward one of these two extremes. We either think lightly of sin and its devastating consequences, or we beat ourselves up over our sins and failures to the point that we cannot enjoy the Christian life anymore.
How are we to respond properly to the Lord's discipline?
1. You need to receive it. Don't blow it off, let it in. Acknowledge your sin to the Lord. Recognize what you did was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the discipline was just.
2. You need to learn from it. God doesn't discipline us to destroy us. He disciplines us for our good. He wants us to acknowledge and confess our sin ... accept His forgiveness ... and move on down the road with Him, being careful to "go and sin no more" (i.e. don't give the devil a place in our lives in this area any longer).
DISCIPLINE IS A GOOD THING
Remember, discipline from the Lord is a good thing. It shows that He loves you. It shows that you belong to Him. A good dad disciplines his own children, not the neighbor's kids. There is a reason why many people can revel in sin without feeling the effects. It's because they don't belong to the Lord.
So the next time you feel the sting of the Lord's discipline come to your heart, thank Him for it. Receive the discipline and learn from it. Let it do a deep work in your heart to draw you nearer to the Savior. Discipline really is a good thing when you respond to it correctly.
Pastor Jeff Schreve,
From His Heart Ministries
Dr. Jeff Schreve believes that no matter how badly you may have messed up in life, God still loves you and has a wonderful plan just for you. From His Heart provides real truth, love and hope on over 700 radio stations each day, in 182 countries each week on TV, and is always available online. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. All donations go to furthering the broadcast outreach. As a listener/viewer supported ministry, we thank you for joining with us to help speak the truth in love to a lost and hurting world. Go to www.fromhisheart.org for more information.