divine discipline

5 ways God makes us holy

“Discipline…produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11

Does a loving God spank His kids? You bet! It is the last resort of a discipline process He uses to conform us to the image of His Son. Spanking is just one of five basic means God uses to communicate to us what is right and wrong, the consequences of our choices and how to get right with Him. All His means of discipline are motivated by His love for us. He wants to protect us from harm and prepare us for faithful service, but ultimately His purpose is to make us holy. “God (disciplines) us for our good in order that we may share in His holiness.” (Hebrews 12:10)

Here are the five basic ways that God disciplines and trains us in holiness.

Why God can trust you with the keys

“My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord . . . for whom the Lord loves He reproves.” Proverbs 3:11-12

Can God trust you with the keys to His car? It all depends on how well you have responded to His discipline in your life.

In a recent post I established the fact that God’s discipline in our lives is an expression of His love. (A revelation of discipline and love) Since that is true, how then do we recognize His discipline and come to embrace it with an obedient response?

The goal of God’s discipline is to conform us to the image of His son, Jesus Christ. That transformation process is meant to move us from a self-centered lifestyle to a Spirit-controlled life. The Holy Spirit, as the Third Person of the Trinity, is the transformation agent who implements Jesus’ will and Lordship in our lives.

It is helpful in understanding God’s discipline to consider why and how a good parent disciplines their children. If you think about it, a parent’s discipline of their child stems from their loving care and a desire for their well-being. Good parenting essentially expresses itself in protecting a child from harm and equipping them to live productive lives. As a child matures into a young adult, parents exercise less external control as the child learns the internal governance of self-control. The test of a parent’s success and rite of passage for their son or daughter is handing them the keys to the family car.

A revelation of discipline and love

“The Lord disciplines those He loves.” Hebrews 12:6

Most people do not like the word discipline. It typically carries with it a negative connotation when it represents the imposition of someone else’s will upon ours. By nature we love our independent self-willed ways. All of us were first introduced to discipline through various methods of parental discipline and then later learned more about discipline in kindergarten and elementary school. For most it was a mixture of good and bad experiences. Sadly for some it was all bad.

Years ago we were counseling with a woman who had been raised in an abusive, authoritarian environment. The enforcement of discipline in her life had been harsh and unloving, inconsistent and often unjust. Having become a Christian in her early twenties she was struggling greatly with the whole concept of God’s discipline in our lives.

I will never forget our meeting with her when the Lord graciously opened her mind and heart to see that His discipline is equated with His love. As we were praying for her, the Lord began to heal her of all the bitter past experiences of ungodly discipline. And then suddenly she erupted with joy and laughter. The divine revelation of God’s love had permeated her being and she saw for the first time that His discipline in her life was the seal of His love for her. Oh the joy!

One of the misbeliefs that the young woman had about discipline is that she equated it solely with punishment. But in an instant she saw that God’s discipline is much more than the meting out of consequences for misbehavior. She realized that it is the transformational process that God uses to fashion His children into the image and like-ness of Jesus His son. (Colossians 1:28 & Hebrews 12:10) Correction is just one aspect of God’s involvement in producing righteousness in our lives.

Divine discipline is best characterized by the word discipleship.

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