Encouraged by God’s Correction.
Hebrews 12:5-6 (NRSV) And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as children—“My child, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, or lose heart when you are punished by him; for the Lord disciplines those whom he loves, and chastises every child whom he accepts.”
One of the reasons that we sometimes “lose heart” when God corrects us, is that our thinking has been so influenced by the voice of Satan the accuser. When I first read the Bible, I heard condemnation everywhere! But I was reading scripture through the lens of condemnation instead of through understanding God’s working in my life and the gift of righteousness and sonship which I had received.
When people are seeing God’s correction through the lens of condemnation, they often have a hard time receiving the correction that comes through scripture and by the Holy Spirit. They feel crushed. Hebrews reminds us that instead of losing heart and being discouraged by correction, we should be encouraged because we know that God accepts us as children! As Philippians 1:6 says, God who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it!
The Peaceful Fruit of Righteousness
Hebrews 12:9-11 (NRSV) Moreover, we had human parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share his holiness. Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
When I first started reading the Bible, I got very discouraged by the correction of scripture, because Satan was twisting the scriptures in my mind to turn them into condemnation. However, as I began to get free from condemnation, I experienced the incredible life and the results that came from heeding God’s discipline. Hebrews calls this “the peaceful fruit of righteousness”.
Now I feel like God’s correction has become very encouraging for me? Why? When nothing is working right and I feel like I’m frustrated and going in circles, God’s correction shows me how to get out of that place of frustration. Every time that I have heeded God’s correction, it has produced the “peaceful fruit of righteousness”. I learn, I get results, and I make progress. God’s correction gets me out of any cycle of frustration.
I think of my little baby daughter first trying to put her sandals on. She kept trying to put her foot in the wrong part of the sandal, and put the sandal on upside-down. When I tried to show her where to put her foot, she didn’t want any help! She wanted to do it herself! She ended up crying a few times, frustrated because she couldn’t get it on.
Sometimes like a little child, we don’t want our Father’s correction. We get upset if anyone tries to show us a better way, but then we end up frustrated because we keep doing the same thing and getting the same results. As we grow up, we should learn to value the correction that will help us to get the results that we want.
Sometimes God’s correction comes through other believers who speak the truth of scripture to us. In fact, one of the responsibilities of Christian leaders is to give correction with scripture in order to bring life and to help other believers to grow.
Proverbs 27:5-6 (VOICE) Open rebuke is better than hidden love. Wounds inflicted by the correction of a friend prove he is faithful; the abundant kisses of an enemy show his lies.
Proverbs 27:6 (NCV) The slap of a friend can be trusted to help you
I don’t usually like the New Century Version, but in this verse the translation “the slap of a friend” makes me laugh. I remember a friend who said “I won’t believe unless God slaps me upside the head” about a wonder that God was doing. God did slap him upside the head! He visited that place and came back with the side of his head covered in the gold dust that he didn’t believe in! He received the Lord’s correction and changed his attitude about what the Holy Spirit was doing.
I already shared in this post about how God began to bring me out of years of frustration with powerlessness by correcting the way I was thinking. I’m writing about God’s correction in today’s blog post because in the next few weeks I will be sharing a few more stories of how God corrected me in specific situations, and the results that were produced.
Although these stories and examples are in the context of healing the sick, the principle can apply to anything. There are some things that I will say which may be a “hard pill to swallow”. However, I cannot express my thankfulness that either another person, or the Holy Spirit, said these things to me which changed my life! Sometimes the things which are the hardest to hear are the things that will help you the most. Some of the greatest miracles that I have experienced happened because God rebuked and instructed me, and I listened.
Proverbs 6:23 (NRSV) For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life
Proverbs 12:1 (NRSV) Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but those who hate to be rebuked are stupid.
Proverbs 13:1 (NRSV) A wise child loves discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
Proverbs 13:18 (NRSV) Poverty and disgrace are for the one who ignores instruction, but one who heeds reproof is honored.