May 28, 2015

Loving Discipline

Hebrews 12:4-11

[Our human fathers] 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.

—  Hebrews 12:10

Because our Father’s love is perfectly balanced, it includes discipline. He intervenes to drive us from sin toward righteousness the way I used to steer my toddlers from the road back into our yard. Though I may have sounded severe, I was not angry or vindictive; I just wanted to protect them. Eventually our kids understood the dangers of the roadway and discovered the fun of playing safely in our yard.

Just as we steer our children away from disaster—sometimes by force—so a loving Father actively disciplines his children. I do not discipline children who are not mine. I will intervene if they are going to hurt themselves, but their long-term development is their parents’ responsibility.

Discipline is one of the signs of love and belonging. My kids know I love them because I intervene when they misbehave. They may not like the immediate consequences, but over time they understand it’s all in their best interest.

God’s purpose in discipline is to bring us to a place where we recognize our sin as ugly rebellion that will ultimately destroy us—and then we can quit running away from the Father and walk with him in joyful obedience. The process might be painful at first, but it is a confirmation of God’s love.

Father, we confess that we have sinned against you and wandered from your love and truth. Thank you for not abandoning us in our rebellion. Thank you for your love and pardon. Amen.

About the author — Rob Jansons

Rob Jansons is the pastor of New Hope Fellowship in Monroe, Washington, where he has served for almost twenty years. He and his wife, Sue, have been married since 1989 and have three daughters. Rob spends time each year in Calcutta, India, working with a Christian ministry to children living in slums. He enjoys hiking in the Pacific Northwest, camping with his family, reading, writing, and being a pastor.

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