As a young boy I remember that my mother used to ask me to do some chores and there was a specific day I really remember that she was saying please do this, this, this, this. Then when you’re done you can go have fun. You can go play, do whatever.
But I decided to test her limits and I talked back. Now here’s the thing: she let me get away with this multiple times, but there was one too many times that I spoke back. And it shouldn’t be surprising, but finally she came over, she grabbed me, and she spanked me. And then she had me sit down the kitchen on a stool and she says you’re going to think about what you were doing, what you were saying to me and the disrespect you caused.
Of course I was in tears and I didn’t feel good. But as we discussed it I learned that I was actually hurting her. That I was disrespecting her. Not showing love. I got discipline many other times and it’s because I totally deserved it.
Now discipline, it doesn’t feel good. It’s not actually supposed to. Discipline is a humbling experience meant to curb us away from sin meant to keep us from doing anything that is wrong. Even something that could harm ourselves or other people. So discipline is good. We read in Hebrews chapter 12 verse 6 something even more, because God also disciplines us. He says:
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. (Hebrews 12:6)
It seems like it’s just absurd that this all loving God would discipline those who are his. And that right there that’s just the key. He loves us. That discipline is meant to keep us from losing our faith, from hurting ourselves physically, from keeping us away from harm, and making dumb choices. My mother would take me aside afterwards, she said you know I discipline you? Because I love you. Because I want you to live. I want you to be safe. I want you to be able to go on throughout this life and to know what I have taught you will help you.
God with his discipline shows that he loves us. That’s what it means. And it doesn’t feel good, but those trials that come into our lives or the consequences of our personal sins or actions. He uses those to teach us to look to him as our only provider, our protector, and ultimately our Savior. And of course Scripture tells us that if we aren’t disciplined then are we really loved?
God shows us his discipline especially through Christ. We deserve the full punishment of God. However, it was Christ who received the full punishment. He was on the cross who bore the weight and the pain for all of our sins and we were spared and we have been brought and made his child.
So what does it mean to be disciplined by God? It means that we are loved and then anyone who is disciplined by God as we go on through this life living by faith living in God’s grace we know that he loves us and that he is caring for us and that we are His child promised to enter his heavenly home.