Discipline can occur in many ways. It can be simple teaching, a means to inform and instruct. It can be a verbal correction or a physical punishment. It can be carried out in a loving way that fosters peace and nurtures self-control or it can be accomplished in a way that creates fear and encourages disconnect.
How terrible it will be for those people! They pull their guilt and sins behind them as people pull wagons with ropes. Isaiah 5:18 (NCV)
In India, I have seen men bear the brunt of their punishment for wrong living with hooks perforating the skin on their backs, attached ropes pulled taut, dragging behind them a cart housing an idol they believe is an all-powerful god. They hope against hope that this act of sacrifice will make them worthy of being forgiven for their sin; they wish that this self-imposed discipline will help them be delivered and redeemed.
These men haven’t yet understood that Christ was punished, beaten and pierced, for them. Hands and feet nailed to a cross, thorns gouged His head, and a sword speared into His side, so that they would not only be accepted, but loved with an everlasting love, invited to be His children.
The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as his child. Hebrews 12:6 (NCV)
I think about the times I recognize His discipline in my own life, my walk with Him. Though I make mistakes, I sometimes sin, He offers freedom, teaching from the look in His eye, guiding me in lessons of self-control. He corrects in unconditional love and never-ending mercy. He instructs with firmness, equips me with tools to be triumphant, and prepares me for the future. He does not raise His voice, loose His patience or physically harm me. He does not leave me nor forsake me.
The sacrifice God wants is a broken spirit.
God, you will not reject a heart that is broken and sorry for sin. Psalm 51:17 (NCV)
We do not enjoy being disciplined. It is painful at the time, but later, after we have learned from it, we have peace, because we start living in the right way. Hebrews 12:11 (NCV)
As I experience His discipline, my heart is altered, my attitude adjusted. I am altered forever, not because I am frightened into obedience, but because my spirit is instilled with His truth and relationship is restored. I am blessed by His goodness and my nature is made holy in Him.
Create in me a pure heart, God,
and make my spirit right again.
Do not send me away from you
or take your Holy Spirit away from me.
Give me back the joy of your salvation.
Keep me strong by giving me a willing spirit. Psalm 51:10-12 (NCV)
Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.