Paradoxical Kingdom: Discipline and Love

Discipline is never an easy subject to talk about. There are so many differing opinions on what is the proper way to do it. It doesn’t feel good to give it or receive it. The world is moving further away from discipline because they only see how it has been abused, rather than been used to correct, edify, and teach.

Endurance and consistency are tiring when trying to discipline a wrong behaviour in someone. Having a puppy recently has brought this into greater light. Mac has been very nippy since day three of having him. It’s been a relentless pursuit for Michael and I to correct this behaviour in him because we want him to be a blessing to all who come over, not a frustration. We understand that puppies have a teething stage, but it hurts us now, and we know it’ll hurt even more later, so it needs to stop.

It’s tiring to be actively correcting him every single hour of every day. It wears us down. But we know that eventually he will understand and it’ll be good for him. I tried to explain to him that what I’m doing will be of benefit for the rest of his life, but obviously he can’t understand me.

However, it makes me think of parents with children. My parents did a great job at explaining their reasons of disciplining my brother and I growing up. Every time we got spanked or put in the time-out corner, they used it as an opportunity to teach us. They explained why they were doing it, which eventually led our stubborn hearts towards repentance.

The Lord works in the same way. He disciplines His children because He wants the best for us. It isn’t pleasant at the time, but it produces greater character in us, moulding us to be more like Jesus. The more we are disciplined to correct the sinful desires in us, the more our hearts can be in tune with Him, and the more Holy Spirit can take up room in our hearts.

Many of the Proverbs explains the importance of accepting discipline from the Lord, and those you are called to honour and respect. Here are some examples to understand why:

(3:11-12) – “do not loathe his discipline; for the Lord disciplines the one he loves, just as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights.”

(4:1) – “Listen, sons, to a father’s discipline, and pay attention so that you may gain understanding,”

(6:23-24) – “For a command is a lamp, teaching is a light, and corrective discipline is the way to life. 24 They will protect you from an evil woman, from the flattering tongue of a wayward woman.”

(12:1) – “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but one who hates correction is stupid.”

(13:18) – “Poverty and disgrace come to those who ignore discipline, but the one who accepts correction will be honored.”

(Bold added)

There are more verses in Proverbs regarding discipline. It’s an excellent book to gain wisdom and understanding for life. But let’s highlight what Solomon said in these:

  • The Lord is a loving Father and sees discipline as something necessary and valuable to teach
  • Discipline brings understanding. Like how my parents explained why they were doing it, so the Lord will explain to you in time too.
  • Discipline offers life. Instead of seeing it as something to avoid, it actually protects
  • Discipline brings knowledge, wisdom, and understanding from the Lord, instead of leaving you ignorant. This is so important today.
  • Discipline makes you honourable. It helps you make better choices in life, in order to walk in the Lord’s ways. This includes helping you turn from greed, selfishness, and making choices that will bring shame and guilt

Can you see the differences in these things between standing out for Christ and giving into the world’s ways? Discipline is a deep and powerful tool to help separate us.

“Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline—which all receive—then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had human fathers discipline us, and we respected them. Shouldn’t we submit even more to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time based on what seemed good to them, but he does it for our benefit, so that we can share his holiness. 11 No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:7-11

As we go full circle and end this Paradoxical Kingdom series, you can see that suffering and discipline go hand-in-hand. Suffering is part of what God uses to discipline us. Not to harm us, but to help us to keep our focus on the Lord and not lose sight of what this life is all about. Discipline and suffering cause humility. It may lead to rejection from others. It also carries with it a weight of grief. But it’s all done in great love for you!

God loves you so much that He chooses to discipline you because He wants the best for you. He wants you to “share His holiness…[and] the peaceful fruit of righteousness”

“But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth.” – Psalm 86:15

The Lord never disciplines you out of rash decisions. He is patient. He doesn’t do it because His anger has flared up against you and He wants to pay you back for your wrong doing. He does it out of His faithful love for you, wanting to help guide you into what’s right and true.

“‘For you, Lord, are kind and ready to forgive,
abounding in faithful love to all who call on you.’” – Psalm 86:5

He is forgiving too. The Lord adores a repentant heart, willing to forgive a multitude of sins by His abundant love and grace. He only uses discipline for a time, in order to help you from yourself and your sinful decisions. Then, once corrected, He gives even more kindness and love to you, cheering you on towards victory.

“…I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, 19 and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” – Ephesians 3:17-19

Though these topics have been difficult to think about, it’s important to understand the heart of God and His reasonings so that you can further press into Him and His ways, rather than want to run from them. The more you understand these, the more you can help others do the same. The Lord does everything out of love – Never lose sight of that. Though the world will tell you otherwise, remember that whatever it has to offer is temporary, but the Lord’s work and ways are eternal.

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