A good number of times growing up in the Lord or in relation to salvation is by the discipline of God. We have to accept it. God disciplines us for a wrong doing after having patiently waited on us; and we all test Him more than and more often than we should. He expects us to realize and return to Him first, but when the inevitable time appears He disciplines us. As the Scripture says all discipline for the time being is hard to bear and brings sorrow, but its ultimate product is the yielding of good fruit. Sometimes in simple matters we are required discipline. The display of bad emotions too often also calls for His discipline. For example, pride is a dangerous attitude and saved people are affected by the pride of being saved. If left unchecked, it destroys the reputation that comes with salvation.
Though we are saved, we commit mistakes or sin against the Lord and people in different ways. It’s usually because we lacked self-control. But if this lack is not filled and it is being outshone, it eventually calls for God’s discipline. Self-control diminishes when our relationship with the Lord weakens and our affinity to the world or flesh increases. With decrease in self-control we neglect protecting the peace and joy God has given us after a period of suffering or walking with Him and give Satan an opportunity to stumble us. It is not like we are unaware of the things we ought not to do that we continue to be without self-control, but that we lost the strength to cope with the power of the world and Satan. Salvation teaches us that we are to adhere to God alone. And it’s the choices we make that determine our level of self-control.
God does not discipline us every time we make a mistake or sin. We know from experience that He often gives grace by repentance to maintain our relationship with Him. By it we understood that particular sin and its nature. We have the full knowledge of it and are aware of its danger; we know we ought to keep away from it. And God does forget the same sin of ours many times by grace. But He disciplines when our sin or mistake goes beyond His patience. In other words, we did not stay true to the grace received or we have the heart to repent, but not the will to completely forsake sin. God does have a limit to His patience so that justice is not meaningless. A recurrent sin of ours could be anything from bad emotions like anger, hastiness or jealousy to deeds like adultery, lying and deception.
All the time we are receiving grace through repentance we are kept from consequences. Once God decides to discipline, i.e. when we overstep His patience, we are no longer aloof to consequences. And it is a noble act to accept His discipline. “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid” (Prov. 12:1). We receive the absolute knowledge that leads to the life God stored for us. For this reason, we ought to love His discipline. One way to know this is by having a thanksgiving heart; the other is confessing He has done right and good to us. As we go through His discipline, we acquire tremendous knowledge regarding many things. God too continues to use us by it. We have all been disciplined, though not perfectly, while as children and not one of us disdains it now for what it has made us to be. But God disciplines us righteously for good and the effect of it is beyond measure. We ourselves can attest to it, since after being disciplined we are made free, no more in bondage.
As many times as we are disciplined by God, we are to rejoice. Though on the one hand it may speak of our many spiritual fissures, on the other hand we are being built for the purpose He chose us. At the end we are to be strong enough to hold out sin and Satan from the temple of God. Through discipline alone we become such temple – this then is not disappointing. Through discipline alone we acquire greater knowledge, the kind we never knew to exist. If we are disciplined once, it benefits in many areas and for many times; we are made wiser. If one hates discipline, he or she does not desire to be righteous and knowledgeable. Then, “The light in his tent is darkened, and his lamp goes out above him” (Job 18:6). It is loss after loss; sorrow upon sorrow. And God does not allow His children to be in such sad situation. Hence, He rather disciplines us.
Therefore, if you are being disciplined by God, do not resist it. And if you are wise and know you need to overcome an attitude, weakness, or sin, ask Him to discipline you before He Himself deems it necessary. For then you’ll see His mercy is great by the presence of fewer consequences. In any case, accept His discipline which profits you.