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.