Sanctifying Discipline
Wendy Blight

"No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it's painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way." Hebrews 12:11 (NLT)

Discipline hurts.

When on the receiving end of it, we hate it. We whine. We groan. We complain. Our sin nature rises up to defend, rebel, and justify.

The author of Hebrews recognizes this in Hebrews 12:11. He says, "No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it's painful."

Yes, it is. Don't you love how God validates our feelings? Discipline hurts!

But when we examine the second half of this verse, God also makes a promise. He promises that afterwards there will be "peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way." God promises to bring forth fruit from discipline. This fruit is the outward effect of His divine discipline. Each time God disciplines us, He moves us closer and closer to holiness.

Oh, how it hurts, though. Recently, I watched and listened as my husband spoke what I believed to be harsh words to my son about his behavior. I did not feel my son's childish behavior warranted my husband's reaction. I made my opinion known right then and there…in front of my son. Looking back, I can see that I disrespected my husband. But, of course, I did not see it that way at the time. In my mind, I was protecting my son's heart, believing I knew the right way, a better way, to say what my husband said.

Later that night, my husband addressed this with me privately. It felt like he was correcting me. I reacted as expected…defending and justifying my words.

God being God had already arranged for me to have coffee the next day with a dear friend who is about ten years ahead of me in parenting. I casually asked how her youngest son was doing. It opened the door to a conversation that led to how a woman needs to respect her husband and trust him with the discipline of a son. She stressed the importance of wives not only respecting their husbands but also trusting them and praying for them…for wisdom and strength as they father their children, especially sons.

Wow!! She knew nothing of my circumstances when she began sharing her wisdom. Tears fell from my eyes as I heard God speaking to me through her.

God softened my heart. Why? To be honest, it was probably because the words did not come from my husband.

I realized in that moment that I needed to change my heart. I learned through her words that my husband's admonishment about what I had done was God's discipline and sanctifying work. With this new perspective, I find myself more willing now to accept discipline and to work with God instead of against Him.

As we closed our time together, my friend prayed the most beautiful prayer that moved my heart to repentance. I could not wait for my husband to get home that night and share what God taught me.

God's promise does not end there. Hebrews 12:12 says:

"Therefore strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed." (NIV)

Friend, God uses discipline to heal. Our God wants the very best for us. He loves us. He delights in us. He has a plan for us. It is only when we willingly allow God to sanctify our hearts and remove sin…whatever it may be (pride, bitterness, fear, mistrust, shame, guilt, anger)…that God can truly use us and accomplish His plans in and through us.

Heavenly Father, give me a heart of glad surrender, one that willingly receives Your discipline. Father, whatever it takes, make me more like You. Bring forth a harvest of righteousness and peace in my life. Amen.

Related Resources:
All Things Wise and Wonderful: Applying God's Wisdom in Everyday Life (E-Book) by Wendy Blight

Visit Wendy’s blog to sign up for her latest on-line Bible Study, The Heart of a Mighty Warrior: The Life of David.

30 Days to Taming Your Tongue and accompanying Workbook by Deborah Smith Pegues

The Power of Prayer to Change Your Marriage by Stormie O'Martian
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Application Steps:
Read 1 Peter 5:5-6 and James 4:6. Who does God oppose in these verses? Who does God favor? What is His promise?

Reflections:
In what ways has God brought the strong hand of sanctifying discipline into your life?

How has God worked in and through that discipline?

Power Verses:
1 Peter 5:5b-6, "All of you, clothe yourselves with humility….because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (NIV)

James 4:6, "…God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (NIV)

Psalm 51:17, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise." (NIV)

Isaiah 66:2, "…This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word." (NIV)

© 2010 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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11 Comments:

Blogger Whitey said...

thank you for these encouraging words!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isaiah 66:2, "…This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word."

This morning when I was writing my journal from "Dear Abba", three tempatations that Jesus experienced: appetite, pride, and power. His words for me are Philippians 4:13 for His power I can do all things only through Jesus Christ, for appetite Philippians 4:19 He will meet all my needs and not necessarily what I want; and for pride Isaiah 66:2 to remind me to be humble at all times.

Thanks Proverbs 31 Ministries. :)
All the blessings to you!

I am recounting that most of my anxious moments come when I cower from discipline. But, I am encouraged by the last part of Hebrews 12:12-that there is healing in accepting and learning form God's gracious correction. Thanks!

Anonymous Jolene said...

These words spoke to my heart today. We had almost the exact same scenario at our home yesterday afternoon and the same discussion after the kids were in bed. Thank you for these encouraging and convicting words. I am going to dig deeper in my quiet time and try to listen more to what God wants me to say (or not say).

Blogger Allison Morrison said...

Thanks for your words...they were very helpful.

Blogger Angie said...

I was sent here by another purely by what I thought was chance. A random Facebook share on a profile of someone who I've found seems to say or share what I need to hear. I've had this happen more times than I can count in my house. Often my husband and I do not have a follow-up conversation or it is not anything of substance. I've been trying so hard to be more patient in my dealings with my dearest especially with respect to our son. I pray daily to bring him closer to God and see the world joyfully through His eyes. Thanks for this.

Anonymous Tracy Nunes said...

Thank you for this Wendy!

I recently went through a time of disappointment that brought my husband and I closer and God used the pain of that discipline to hammer home a strange admonition, "You don't know who you are... how I created you or in my Son Jesus" I am on a journey to find out.

His discipline always brings about our good if we are listening.Thanks for this post!

Blogger LaDonna said...

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Blogger LaDonna said...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

God bless you for sharing this. We are in the middle of dealing with issues with our teenage son.I was being tempted to do it my way and run ahead of my husband. I needed this encouragement to realize again that it is best to encourage and share my heart with my husband and let him lead. Also if we make it a conflict between us and our husband it is worse for our children to see an unloving relationship in their parents then the issue at hand with our child. God bless you as you encourage us ladies to love our husbands and let them lead. a mom of 9

Indeed discipline hurts, but will also give its benefits once we are in need of it , Very encouraging post.

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