the discipline of God is real and it is an act of love

Don't you hate discipline? I know I did when I was a kid. I never enjoyed having to face the consequences of my behavior. Now as an adult the shoe is on the other foot. Often I am the one doing the disciplining and it sucks. I find no joy when I have to discipline my kids. But I know that it is necessary. I needed it when I was young so that I would learn to make solid decisions. My own kids need it now so that they will develop into mature, moral, responsible, and noble young adults.

I was listening to an archived sermon by David Johnson on Hebrews 12:4-11, regarding the discipline of God. He preached that God does not punish us for our sins. Its real easy to confuse or combine discipline and punishment. But God does not punish us for our sins because the punishment reserved for us has already been handed down to Jesus when he died for us on the cross. We can never make restitution to God for our sin, only Jesus could accomplish that.

Therefore we shouldn't think of God's discipline as punishment. Instead we should view God's discipline in three ways: 1) as a corrective or turning mechanism so that we walk in the right way ; 2) as a preventive measure to keep us from doing wrong; 3) as a tool for education. All of these three things are gifts from God so that we might seek him more passionately and enjoy him more thoroughly.

There was one line during the message that really stuck with me. I didn't catch the reference of the quote but Johnson said (my paraphrase), "If we would immediately respond to the taps of the Spirit we would avoid many of the raps of the Father."

Because God is good and gracious and loving he disciplines his children. God desires that we would live rightly. In fact, if you don't ever receive the discipline of the Father you need to check whether or not you are a son. I know that is bold sounding but think it through. I am completely depraved. I will screw-up. I need a loving Father that disciplines me (remember this is different than punishment) so that I will seek him.

One last thing...sometimes we need to hit bottom before we will respond to God's discipline in our lives. Pain is a great wake-up call to reality. Unfortunately different people have different depths to their bottom. Sometimes it takes some people great amounts of pain before they recognize what God is trying to say to them. My prayer is that my 'bottom depth' would get real shallow and that all I would need is the occasional tap from the Spirit rather than a solid rap from the Father.