The Discipline of the Lord

Proverbs 3:11-12

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.

I have been corrected more times than I can count. I’ve been corrected for small things and I’ve been corrected for big things. I’ve been corrected informally and I’ve faced formal church discipline. Sometimes it’s been done well and sometimes it’s been done poorly. Sometimes it’s been from the tongue of a friend, sometimes it’s come from the mouth of those who oppose me. The one common thing however is that in the end when I have yielded to the rebuke of the Lord, whatever the source, I have always been blessed and grown through the process.

How do you handle it when someone points out you’re wrong? Are you hard to correct? Do you respond well when someone questions your judgment, or attitude or actions?

Scripture says here that the Lord reproves those He loves. The rebuke and the chastisement of the Lord is something that he does for believers not to punish them but to grow them and mature them. Hebrews 12 says that it doesn’t seem pleasant at the time but painful, nevertheless it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

It is easy to be dismissive of the council or reproofs that are given to us but in the proverb above we are advised to not take these things lightly. Our sanctification into righteousness and holiness can be at stake.

As one who has benefited time and time again from being corrected and being disciplined I encourage you to be encouraged when you are being disciplined. Know that it is a sign of God’s love for you not his wrath. It is for our good and so we may share in His holiness.

This doesn’t mean that we submit to every human authority that questions us and it doesn’t mean that all criticism should be adhered to. It does mean however that when we feel the conviction of the Lord through the council of those around us we should listen carefully and take it seriously.

Perhaps the rebuke you have been given has been given in the wrong spirit or by the ‘wrong’ person or in a poor manner. Perhaps there is a mixture of fact and fiction in the judgment made against you. Whatever the case may be it is to your benefit and to God’s glory to learn from it and receive the discipline of the Lord with joy.


5 responses to “The Discipline of the Lord

  1. James, thanks for this post.

    One thing is for sure, it’s much easier to give advice than it is to take it.

    As I read your post, it challenged me to be very careful when I offer counsel and to make sure that it is always done in love.

    God bless you, brother!

    • Hi Don,

      Depending on the attitude or heart we may feel prompted to touch base with someone else, I think it can be very challenging to confront others. Confrontation or correcting of someone can be extremely challenging and nerve-racking, as you know the initial delivery of your news won’t bring ‘happy’ feelings.

      However as I wrote in an earlier blog, we are called to holiness, not happiness. Conforming into the image of Christ is what’s at stake here. Therefore, we all have a responsibility to look out for one another as it says in Gal 6:1-10.

      Confronting people and receiving correction is a healthy part of Christian life. However as you pointed out Don, how we do it is just as critical!! We must never forget our depravity apart from Christ’s work within us. We must strive to be merciful to others as God was first merciful to us.

  2. Great points James. It’s not easy to take correction, yet it’s a sign of maturity and an eagerness to honour God when someone is willing to put their initial defensive reactions aside and ask “what is God potentially instructing me here”.

    I think it’s important to remember none of us are above reproach. It’s easy to proudly think we have reached a ‘spiritual maturity’ that would mean we are above reproach from certain people, however God has a way of humbling us.

    I think those times of correction and the pointing out of areas in our life in which we need to potentially grow, highlight the fact it’s God’s work in us and not our own ability that will lead to a more mature Christian life. We are all fallible and stained. We all have areas of immaturity. The question is, will we allow God to mature us in those areas.

    Thanks James for this very practical and critical reminder!

  3. The key to discipline, I think, is humbleness on the part of both the corrector and the one being corrected. Then it works as it should. I guess that’s why I favour God’s direct discipline because I can count on his kindness. Trouble with that though is that many people excuse themselves from any earthly discipline by saying only God disciplines me.

  4. Interesting that Pastor Martin Pakula preached on “Church Discipline” this morning. You can listen to his excellent teaching on this here.

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