The Pathway To God’s Discipline

Like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
–1 Peter 1:15-16

If you want to experience God’s blessing in your life, obey Him. If you want to experience His discipline, then disobey Him or simply neglect Him. I am not suggesting that all problems in your life are the result of disobeying or ignoring God, but some of them are. If you are a child of God, He loves you too much to allow you to continue to disobey Him or ignore Him without severe consequences. As Hebrews 12:6 says, “Those whom the Lord loves He disciplines.”

In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul used the example of the Israelites to remind the Corinthians of the consequences of disobedience. Look at verses 8-10: “Nor let us act immorally, as some of [the Israelites] did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.” God allowed these things to happen to the Israelites as a reminder to us of the consequences of disobeying or ignoring God.

None of us would willingly choose God’s discipline. So what causes people to disobey or simply ignore God and experience His curses? The pathway to God’s discipline always begins with an improper view of God. Instead of believing in the God of the Bible, most people have created a god in their own minds who is just as arbitrary and tolerant of sin as everyone else. That was the mistake the Israelites made. They thought that because of their special relationship with God, His rules did not apply to them.

We make the same mistake today. We imagine God as a cosmic Santa Claus or a benevolent old grandfather who hopes we do not sin but overlooks it in the end. After all, hasn’t God forgiven all our sins past, present, and future? Yes, if you are a Christian, God has wiped away the eternal consequences of your sin. But being a Christian does not exempt you from God’s real and painful punishment when you disobey Him; in fact, it guarantees that discipline. As the writer of Hebrews said, “What son is there whom his father does not discipline?” (12:7).

Maybe right now you are outwardly rebelling against God in some specific areas of your life, or you are simply neglecting God. And you are thinking, “Nothing bad has happened to me yet. There has not been any discipline.” The operative word there is “yet.” If God has held back His hand of discipline from you, it is only for a season. It is only to give you one last chance to turn away from that sin or neglect. Those whom the Lord loves He will discipline.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “New Year . . . New Choices” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org

 

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