Whom the Lord Loves

One of the most beautiful lessons we can learn in all of Scripture is that, “…whom the Lord loves He chastens…” (Hebrews 12:6).

When I was eighteen years old, I joined a martial arts school to learn Tae Kwon Do. This is a Korean style of martial arts. Tae Kwon Do is much more than merely learning how to fight. The greatest lessons were in becoming highly disciplined. This was a wonderful precursor to learning the great benefits of being disciplined by the Lord.

The Lord will break you to change you if that’s what it takes. “You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you” (Deuteronomy 8:5).

The first Tae Kwon Do instructor that I had was an ex-wingman from a helicopter gunship during the Vietnam war. He was as tough as a man can come. He ran his school like a military commander. If we made mistakes, he was sure to make us pay for them with much exercise. I did a lot of pushups at this school. Sometimes God’s discipline is the exact exercise we need to become stronger.

People hurt you to crush you, but the Lord only hurts you to help you. “For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness” (Hebrews 12:10).

Until you learn to admit where you are wrong, how can you expect to be taught what is right? “If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding” (Proverbs 15:32 NLT).

Years later, I joined a school with an instructor who just immigrated from South Korea. In this school, the discipline was even greater than the first. The instructor was relentless in keeping everyone in line. Oh, how much we need discipline in our world today! We serve a God of order, and we should never be surprised when He corrects us to keep us in line.

Sometimes the Lord has to hurt you to help you. “Young man, do not resent it when God chastens and corrects you, for his punishment is proof of his love. Just as a father punishes a son he delights in to make him better, so the Lord corrects you.” (Proverbs 3:11-12 TLB).

Learn to let His chastening do its work in you today, so you won’t have to be chastened tomorrow. “If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?” (Hebrews 12:7).

As I increased in rank at this new school, the discipline became even greater. If you did not follow his commands or were not performing to the level you should, he would hurt you. Sometimes it hurt a great deal. And after he hurt you, it was required that you stand up straight, put your open hands at your side, bow to the instructor and say, “gamsahabnida,” which means “thank you” in Korean.

There is no such thing as a self-made man or woman in the Kingdom of God. “And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make” (Jeremiah 18:4).

After we were disciplined, we said thank you because we were acknowledging that the instructor thought enough of us to discipline us to become better. We need to understand that with the Lord, He also takes the time to discipline those whom He loves.

People say they want the Lord to lead them. But what they really want is His approval to go their own way. If you won’t accept His rebuke, then don’t ask for His counsel. “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:5-6).

We need to learn that God disciplines us for our good. The discipline is not only for when we have done wrong, but also for where we can do better. Discipline is not as much of a punishment as it is a guide, something that gets our attention and then sets us on a better path. We see such rebelliousness in the world, and God is calling you to be different. Don’t despise his discipline, but thank Him for it.

The Lord is hardest on two groups of people: those furthest from Him, and those closest to Him. Jesus said, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:19).

We think that every good thing is from God and all suffering is of the devil. Yet God uses suffering for our gain and the devil uses the pleasures in life for our demise. “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).

I know that many are in such terrible circumstances. In whatever you are going through, I pray that you would know that God is with you, Christ is in you, and the Holy Spirit is your friend. Stay in prayer and keep the faith, for God will never fail you.

Blessings to you,


All Scripture is in red and uses the NKJV (New King James Version) translation unless otherwise noted.

11 thoughts on “Whom the Lord Loves

  1. Wow. Thank you father Paul. Your words really hit me today, it’s like an ‘aha moment’ when you said: ‘devil actually uses pleasure for our demise and God uses struggle for our gain’ because we used to think right the opposite but I can see the mental trap clear now! Thank you father for your wisdom and teachings every week! With so much appreciation, Luly

    1. Hello Luly, thank you so much for your kind words. I think it is such a blessing as we take hold of new truths to help us increase in our walk with the Lord. I know that I am always so lifted when I can make changes that improve upon my faith and my service to the Lord. Blessings to you, Paul.

  2. ‘Sometimes the Lord has to hurt you to help you’ So powerful Paul i have been thinking about this statement now i can understand that some hurts i have been through it has been God’s plan. thanks Paul may God bless you

    1. Hi Robert, I think it is a powerful moment when we can see the good the Lord was bringing about through hard times. One thing I know is that God loves us so incredibly much, and all things He does for a reason. Blessings to you brother.

  3. I loved that word. It really blessed me. Makes me think of my coffee table. It used to be a rough piece of wood. Now patiently worked on its a beautiful piece of furniture and such a blessing to many. Thank you Paul

    1. Thank you, Vee. I really liked your analogy, we often do not think about what we were before and how God has shaped us for His purposes. We are so blessed that He does!

  4. Thank you Paul for.these words of exortattion. My question to you is how do you know the difference between God’s disciplin and the devil’s schemes. I dont want to disobey God, sometimes I struggle with knowing the voice of the Holy Spirit about praying with people. Sometimes I have no struggle then other times I I do. Any suggestions. Therefore if I dont pray then I disobey Holy Spirit.

  5. Thank you Paul for these words of exhortation. My question to you how do you know between God’s disciplin or the devil’s schemes. I struggle to pray for people and sometimes I don’t. So I struggle to hear Holy Spirit voice. Then I disobey I don’t want to disobey obey God but I get fearful to pray my mouth gets dried and I can say anything. Then there are time I feel a burden then I have no problem praying do you have any suggestions

    1. We know that God always has the intention of building us up into something new. We also know that the devil wants to destroy us. Yet God is sovereign over all things, and He can use the schemes of the devil and turn it around to make something good come from it. I always think on Genesis 50:20 where Joseph spoke to his brothers who had tried to kill him and then sold him as a slave. Joseph told them what they meant for evil God had used it to save a nation.

      Seek the Lord and rest before Him. Don’t strive to hear the Holy Spirit, only surrender until you do. If you disobey confess and repent. If you don’t know what to say in prayer know that the Spirit does. When you struggle to pray, pray that you would not. Keep pressing in, faith is a journey.

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