GOD LOVINGLY GUIDES US TO RESTORE US TO HIMSELF
“O Lord, blessed is the person whom You discipline and instruct from Your teachings. You give him peace and quiet from times of trouble.” – Psalm 94:12-13 –
God’s desire for us is to grow to be like His Son. Such is our Christian walk… a walk of sanctification. The path we travel is not always smooth and straight. Often, it is not an easy way to navigate. Our walk is through a fallen world… a world under the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19).
There are temptations at every twist and turn along the way. Temptations that can lead us astray… perhaps down wrong turns and dead ends. Yet we continue on… moving ever closer to our ultimate goal… becoming ever more Christlike.
Jesus warns us that in this world we will have trouble (John 16:33). Although our way may be wrought with trouble, God does not bring trouble our way. He never tries to tempt us… never seeks to lure us off His path.
When we do go astray, our God does not punish us. Yet He may at times deem it necessary to discipline us. The difference? Punishment seeks vengeance for a wrong, while discipline seeks restoration.
“He may sometimes chasten us, it is true, but even this He does with a smile, the proud, tender smile of a Father who is bursting with pleasure over an imperfect but promising son who is coming every day to look more and more like the One whose child he is.” – A.W. Tozer
All that God does is out of love for us, His children. God’s purpose in discipline is to draw us back to Him… to restore us to Himself. God disciplines us as a father disciplines a child… out of love. His love is a perfect love… a love we can barely fathom. It is a deep, enduring, unconditional love that seeks only our good.
“God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:10-11
God may allow us to face the consequences of our sins as discipline. Why? To point out areas of our lives where we are vulnerable to temptation. To correct our wayward ways. To turn us away from sin and turn us back to Him and His path. The result? His favor, blessing and peace.
Our faithful God seeks our complete trust in Him. He desires that we learn to depend on Him continually on our Christian walk. He wants us to become stronger and better prepared to resist temptations in the future.
“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.” – Hebrews 12:5-6
People react in varying ways to God’s discipline. Anger may arise when God’s hand of correction comes upon them. Anger at God, anger at the world for the suffering incurred. There is no remorse for their sin… no lesson learned… no change in character.
Self-pity may result when a person feels undeserving of God’s discipline. They are sorry for themselves to have to endure the discomfort… yet are not sorry for their sin.
Resignation may occur where a person loses heart. They feel that God’s discipline is crushing them. This causes them to doubt His love and compassion… to forget His promises… to lose their trust in Him.
Yet God longs for us to humbly accept His loving correction that draws us back to Him. Remorse for our sins… the way they have hurt others, ourselves and our Lord… leads us to repentance. We seek God’s forgiveness and a restored relationship with Him.
“For His anger is but for a moment; His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” – Psalm 30:5
When God’s discipline comes our way, we look to discover what He is trying to teach us. For He has only our best interest at heart. We allow Him to change our character through the experience to become more like His Son.
God’s refining discipline is meted out as a loving and merciful Father hoping to return us to His path for our lives. It is a display of His longing to care for us and protect us. It lasts only as long as needed to awaken us. Our tears for our sins turn to joy when we are once again restored to our heavenly Father, embraced by His favor and blessing.
“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6
Along our walk of sanctification, we submit to the Holy Spirit and His work in our lives… shaping us into Christlikeness. For we are called to be God’s masterpiece. He will not leave His treasured work of art unfinished. We yield to His discipline of love and allow His masterful hand to fashion us into just what He created us to be.