Being a Child of God: Discipline

Hebrews 12:7-11 addresses the concept of God’s discipline.  


When we think about discipline, perhaps we first conjure up some negative experience we have had when being punished. One of the definitions of the word discipline does include “punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.” Most of us can recall when we received punishment which we thought was too harsh, poorly administered and undeserved. Sometimes discipline is used as a form of revenge or to gain submission. It can be painful, inappropriate and provide the opposite results from those desired.  


But God’s discipline is different.  


Consider the word "disciple." A disciple is a student, learner or pupil. God wants us to be His disciples. The disciple wants to follow, even mirror, their teacher. Romans 8:14 says, “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” In this sense we are neither slaves nor step-children, but true children and thus heirs of God.


Proper discipline brings about a state of order and correctness by beneficial training and control. It shows the exact path to obtain the approval of the teacher. Discipline allows us to grow into maturity.


God always provides instruction which is consistent with His will. It is just, beneficial in the long term, and able to be endured. If we are truly a child of God, we should seek the discipline of God. Although it may be unpleasant in the short term, God’s discipline always leads to righteousness, order, simplicity and glory to our Father.  


What child would not desire the righteous instruction of their Father?