Hebrews 12:11 (ESV)-
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
In a passage declaring the corrective love of God for all His dear sons and daughters, followers of Jesus are encouraged to see God’s hand in our discipline as loving. God doesn’t simply pay us back with pain and problems because He demands that we pay for our sins. God desires to change our hearts and the course of our behavior so that we are set apart to walk a path of godliness that will bless and benefit our life presently and eternally.
It is clear from Hebrews 12:11 that the discipline coming from God produces painful influences that bring about grief and sorrow. This view of the corrective painful influences God brings into our life to discipline us, may be hard for some to swallow. It seems that many fathers and mothers today want to try to apply pleasant forms of discipline that make their approach to correction easier on them and on their children. But this approach to correction does not produce good behavior; it produces self-centered brats that no one but the parents enjoy being around.
As children of God, the desire of our Father in heaven is to change our hearts and shape our behavior to be conformed to the image of the Son Jesus, and results in blessings in our lives that are profitable to us and attractive to the world. There is a beauty to godliness that is delightful to experience and to witness. It is the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
We find that our hearts will desire righteousness and our lives will display righteousness because we have been “trained” by the “painful” disciplining hand of God. This painful correction may come in the way of affliction, opposition, or natural calamities. When a child of God experiences any of the above, he or she should engage in personal examination to see what lessons and changes of direction God’s truth may desire to produce.
Most hardships do not come willy-nilly, but are purposefully designed to shape us and redirect us. The discipline of God is not pleasant at the moment, but it is the loving intervention of God to help us to see the blessing of walking a Christ-centered path rather than a self-centered path. So when you experience the discipline of God, don’t throw a fit and act like a sullen brattish child. Ask God to open your eyes to any change of attitude or action that may be needed, and ask Him for the power to redirect your heart and your life. He is a loving Father and He wants what is best for you, and that is for you to become Christ-centered for His glory.
[Pastor Mark Landess]