This is the fifth post in a series on why God allows His children to go through hard times.

My parents never skimped on discipline. When my brother or I directly disobeyed or behaved in a way that contradicted their teaching they were quick to act. When we were young, they used an appropriate spanking or time out. As we got older, sometimes the discipline was a stern conversation. Other times it was some form of restriction or grounding.

These times of discipline were difficult and sometimes painful. But I never doubted my parents’ love for me. Perhaps I sensed that their discipline – even though unpleasant at the time – was proof of their love. Now that I’m grown with children of my own, I know they disciplined me because they love me.

Sin can and often does result in hard times. Not only does our sin bring its natural consequences but God also intervenes to bring His children back to obedience. Painful circumstances are not always God’s discipline, but they can be.

Examples of God’s discipline fill the pages of Scripture. Even David, the “man after God’s own heart,” experienced it (2 Samuel 12:7-14). Here are a few verses that teach about how God uses discipline in the lives of His children:

  • “Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good. So obey the commands of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and fearing him.” Deuteronomy 8:5, NLT
  • My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:11-12, NLT
  • Yet when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned along with the world. 1 Corinthians 11:32, NLT

Prayerfully consider if any behaviors or attitudes in your life could bring God’s discipline. If we do experience God’s discipline, how should we respond? The author of Hebrews gives us wise advice:

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:7-11, NIV

First, we must recognize God’s right to discipline us and respect Him for it. Second, we should submit to God’s discipline and allow Him to “train” us as He sees best. Third, let’s rejoice in the fact that God’s discipline will make us more like Jesus.

Have you ever experienced God’s discipline? If so, what was the result?

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