“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.” Hebrews 12:7-8
Is God disciplining me?
How do we answer that question?
It can be really confusing. When things start going sideways in our lives, we naturally want to look for someone or something to blame. Or we might wonder if we are the unwitting engineers of our own circumstances. “So,” we might ask, “what’s going on???”
Is God disciplining me?
Again, the answer here is tricky. Isn’t it always the case that God is working all the time in order to make us into the image of Jesus? If that is true, then why would we dread the question of God’s discipline? In fact, shouldn’t it be a reason for us to rejoice! One of the ways we know we are a child of God is because of God’s discipline in our lives. This is surprising because when things don’t go the way we think they should, this thought creeps into our minds:
“Doesn’t God love me? Because surely if He did, then this wouldn’t have happened.”
But Hebrews 12 torpedoes that line of thinking out of the water: The discipline of the Lord isn’t evidence of His lack of love; it’s proof of it.
In fact, if we never received discipline from God, we would need to question the Lord’s love. But He does discipline us because He is not only our Father; He is the best Father imaginable. The evidence of that “bestness” is His discipline for our good.
Think about it for a minute. Let’s say there are a hundred children on a playground, and you see a group of kids doing something dangerous. Maybe not dangerous in the sense that someone’s going to be permanently disfigured, but unsafe nonetheless. Now you might be compelled to step in, but then again, you might say to yourself, ‘Those aren’t my kids.’
But your posture completely changes when your own child is involved, simply because that is YOUR child. And as a parent, it is your duty to intervene for your child’s welfare. Chances are they will look at you as someone who has spoiled the fun, but you know better. You are acting for their good. In a similar way, God intervenes with His discipline because He is our Father.
We aren’t somebody else’s kids – we are His. And because we are, He is compelled to act.
So, Christian, perhaps today you sense the disciplining hand of your Father upon you. It does not mean He has abandoned you or ceased to love you. Quite the contrary. It means that you are His child.
So, if your question is, “Is God disciplining me?”
Your answer should be, “I sure hope so!”
Do not despise the Lord’s instruction, my son, and do not loathe his discipline; for the Lord disciplines the one he loves, just as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:11-12.
Written by Michael Kelley, Guest Contributor
To read more of Michael’s writing, check out his daily blog, Forward Progress http://michaelkelley.co/