I am blessed to have four-year-old twins: a boy and a girl. They couldn’t be any different from each other. My daughter Sophie is mild-mannered, easy-going girl, and does what her mommy and daddy ask her to. My son Riley... not so much. The other day he did something particularly disobedient and I had to give him a spanking. He usually spends a few minutes trying to convince me that he doesn’t need a spanking because he will listen and obey this time – if I don’t give him one. And I tell him that he should have decided to do that before he got in trouble. Then he always says, “But daddy, I don’t want a spanking!” No one does. But even though he doesn’t fully comprehend this, I do it because I want the best for him.
“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 12:9-11
I think back through my life at the times that my Father has had to discipline me. Surely he didn’t enjoy it, in the same way that I don’t enjoy disciplining my son. But I know that God disciplines me because he loves me, and He must really love me a lot! Because as my wife would quickly point out, Riley is just like his daddy. So unfortunately, I need to be disciplined often. But as I recall all of the times that the discipline has been tough to deal with – the times I’ve been told no, or not yet, or suffered a setback – all of those difficult times have made me better. I probably spent time pleading with God, making promises of future obedience if this would just go away. I’m sure I probably even told Him that I didn’t want it this way. And He probably whispered back, “No one does.” And even though I don’t always fully comprehend it, God disciplines me because He wants the best for me.
My prayer is that it produces in me a righteousness and peace that can only come from the training of discipline.