“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and punishes every son he receives” (Romans 12:6, Christian Standard Bible).
It was a bright, sunny Saturday morning, and a friend and I were on vacation at a beautiful spot near the shore. What better way to start our morning than to peacefully enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet. As the hostess walked us to our table, my eyes moved across the artistic display of fruits, pastries, and other breakfast dishes. How lovely.
The first two minutes were nice. But then . . .
I noticed a child pick up a pastry with his fingers and then change his mind. I thought mom would quietly correct him and put it on his plate. Instead she used her fingers to align it on the tray and walked on. Meanwhile, the hostess seated my friend and me across from two couples and their several children, who obviously had not learned to use “inside voices.” Toys mixed with food on the table and chaos reigned while the parents blithely conversed. This was not the peaceful setting we envisioned as we walked in.
As the unwilling witness to all this, I kept asking myself, “Why are the children in control and not the parents?” The missing ingredient seemed to be discipline.
I think we all agree it’s important to train children in proper behavior. Learning self-control and obedience are part of the growth process. The child may not enjoy the discipline—we didn’t either at that age. But because our parents loved us enough to correct us, we became a better person. As we matured, and with the proper training, we learned self-control. A two-year-old throwing a temper tantrum in the grocery store aisle is one thing, but a thirty-year-old throwing a tantrum looks ridiculous.
In the same way, a new Christian may not always behave correctly; but as we grow in our walk with the Lord, self-control becomes more evident in our lives. To help us along the way, the Lord sometimes finds it necessary to discipline us. He wants us to become a stable, mature part of the body of Christ. We are His child, and He corrects us because He loves us.
“My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly or lose heart when you are reproved by him, for the Lord disciplines the one he loves and punishes every son he receives . . . No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:5-6, 11, CSB).
Ultimately, God’s desire is for us to learn to discipline ourselves. After all, self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). It shows we have matured as a child of God.
Prayer: Lord, Your discipline isn’t always pleasant but it’s sometimes necessary when I fail You. Help me to willingly submit to Your discipline. Help me to grow in my walk with You and to learn to discipline myself.