October 06, 2015

The Lord’s Good Discipline

Proverbs 3:11-20

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline . . . because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

—  Proverbs 3:11-12

Though I have five siblings, I claimed that my father loved me most because he disciplined me the most. Could it be that I needed more teaching or training than the average child?

As Christ’s disciples, we recognize the need to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). This kind of growth requires discipline.

I recall the pain expressed by a son’s blurting out, “Pastor, my dad doesn’t care enough to discipline me. He won’t take the time!” I’d heard about such situations, but I had never heard it from someone in such pain.

I reflected on the disciplining I did with our sons. Did they understand I was disciplining because I loved them? Did they know that being grounded for a week also restricted their parents? Did my imperfect efforts express love and awareness of each one’s uniqueness?

Jesus’ mother, Mary, expressed frustration with her 12-year-old son: “Why have you treated us like this?” Jesus answered, “Why were you searching for me?” Joseph and Mary didn’t understand. Nevertheless, Jesus went home and “was obedient to them.” And “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:49-52). Growing wiser includes discipline from imperfect parents. Once again, Jesus shows the way.

Father, thank you for Jesus’ example. Help us to understand that the goal of discipline is to grow in grace and knowledge. In his name, Amen.

About the author — George Vink

Pastor George Vink has served as a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church for more than 30 years in British Columbia, Montana, Michigan, and California. He and his wife, Shirley, have four married sons and nine grandchildren.

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