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Love Through Discipline – part 1

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
    nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrew 12:3-11)

The Lord’s discipline can bring about a wide range of emotions in me. When I am not submitting to his discipline, I am easily angered and frustrated, but it should be no surprise that discipline brings tension and pressure even when welcomed. If we keep our eyes fixed on the fruit of discipline, acceptance will be much more our attitude.

Discipline and punishment are not the same word. Discipline is training (instruction and correction). Punishment is an inflicted penalty. We often confuse the two and even use the terms interchangeably.

We cloud God’s treatment of us and take his discipline as punishment. There may be no better way to enrage a son than for his identity to be warped into thinking he is being punished rather than disciplined. How great is the love of the Father that he would discipline us!

Parenting should change dramatically in light of this.

-Not that our training of them will bring comfort, but the point of discipline is to be built up and brought near.

-We are not to provoke them to anger but bring them up in the discipline of the Lord — discipleship is our highest order as parents (Ephesians 6:4).

-“Discipline is not revenge,” as pastor Cole Huffman recently pointed out when viewing the video of the father putting bullets in his daughter’s computer.

I am not always disciplining my children for their good. It is often for my own good or convenience. And, I often push them to discouragement. I can tell when their heads and shoulders drop from having not met my expectations. Not so with God. He not only disciplines for our good — that we might share in his holiness — but he also provides the encouragement for us to endure because the expectations have already been met in Christ.

Do not be discouraged in your discipline. The fact that God disciplines us because he loves us should provoke perseverance, transferring that same discipline through love to our children, aggravating that same endurance in them.

Do you view God’s discipline as punishment? Would you receive it differently if you saw it as instruction, training, correction?

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Yes, great thoughts. One of my guiding parenting principles is “discipline is discipleship.” The purpose is growing. When I see my kids as young Christians, sisters in Christ, I treat them differently. The purpose of discipline is to help them to understand the gospel and the way the world works so they can follow Jesus, not for them to make me look good.

    The punishment = discipline thing is one of my biggest pet peeves. Godly repentance often comes without any punishment. If a child is begging to be spanked after they confess a sin (an anecdote from a parenting book someone was recommending just today at the playground), you have reinforced to your kids that they need to be punished to be forgiven. And that’s really dangerous theology to espouse.

    February 21, 2012
    • Thanks, Kristen. Such good input. From what I can find, disciplining and discipling are derived from the same word in English, but I can’t find a direct correlation in the Greek (not that I’m really smart enough for that, and I googled it). But, I agree that “discipline is discipleship.” It adds new meaning to “Train/Discipline/Disciple a child in the way he should go…” I’m adding to this post tomorrow. Would love your input on it as well.

      February 21, 2012

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