Discipline: The Harvest

“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 12:11)

The idea of God’s discipline as evidence of God’s love for me made a lot more sense after I had a son of my own. Before that, the concept that God would include on his job description keeping tabs of how closely I was following Jesus—and that he would go to the trouble to discipline me when I’m not—seemed a little beneath him. He’s the God of the universe. He’s got a lot going on. Why waste time on my little sins when people are starving and dying? Is God just a control freak?

trail_350I get it better now that he’s not. If my son disobeys me in a “little” thing, I’d much rather just ignore it. I’ve got lots to do. I’d rather spend our time together laughing and having fun. Why make an ugly scene? It’s harder for me to discipline him than to let it go. But I know that if he does not learn to obey my authority, he’ll be even less likely to obey God. I know that his life will be harder—less peaceful—if he doesn’t learn to discipline himself. So even though it doesn’t “seem pleasant at the time” to either of us, I usually do what I’d rather not and discipline him. It’s an act of love, even when I hate it.

It should be a huge and humbling idea that the God of the universe—with 7 billion people on the planet who need him—loves me enough to take the time to discipline me when I begin to sabotage my life by wandering away again. He must really care that I find that “harvest of righteousness and peace.” What a good Father.

Think: What does—or what would—a harvest of righteousness and peace look like in your life?

Pray: Ask God to help you to be grateful for his attention and discipline.

Do: If your parents made an effort to discipline you well in your life—even if you didn’t always agree with their decisions—make a point to thank them this week and/or to thank God for their discipline.