Making light – not paying attention when you are disciplined. Like a stubborn child that refuses to acknowledge that they have done something wrong, or refuses to co-operate because their will is more important than the authority over them. It is the child that laughs in the face of a parent, that continues in the ways that they have been warned about. It is the child that listens to correction and still does what the child wants to do.
In these situations, discipline is often interpreted as punishment for wrongdoing and does not necessarily bring with it the correction of behavior. This is when the motive behind discipline is misunderstood. It is possible, that as parents we have handed out discipline as a form of punishment, or even been punished as a form of discipline, but this is not how God works.
How can we be so sure? When we become believers, Christ’s blood covers ALL of our sin: past, present and future. Our slate is clean before God and there is “no more condemnation for them that are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1) We are freed from the punishment of sin and wrong doing, there is no longer any judgement for sin. This is called justification.
But as broken, fallen sinners, we are still subject to the LAW of sin in our bodies. In other words, we are still prone to sin and wrong doing. For this, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to us, to help us live lives that do not give into sinfulness, to purify us and so we are continually being sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
As believers we are justified before God, but are still in the process of sanctification.
These are big words, so let us describe the difference:
Justification (we are justified): This is the blood of Jesus that covers our sin before God, “Just-as-if-I-had-never sinned.” This act was done, once and for all on the cross, by Jesus and the task is complete.
Sanctification (we are being sanctified): This is the process of becoming holy, purified and being set apart for heaven and from the world, the preparation for the Presence of God (1 John3:2-3) when we will see Him face-to-face. We do this with the help of the Holy Spirit in our day-to-day lives.
It is God’s will that we be sanctified (1 Thes 4:3) and live holy lives (1 Thes 4:7). He trains us in holiness just as He is Holy. (Acts 20:32)
“Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So, Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.” (Heb 2:11)
When we are disciplined by God, it is part of the sanctification process in our lives and NOT punishment for sin.
This is because the motive behind the discipline is not one of punishment, but sanctification. God’s love motivates His discipline, for our good, not judgement for sin. We are therefore warned in Heb 12:5-6:
‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.’
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. (Prov 3:11-12)
Discipline deters destruction and it is for our good. Although painful, it is ultimately valuable. Ignoring God’s discipline would be to “make light of it.”
“…God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Heb 12:10 -11)
It is easy for us to write off discipline that may feel like being punished, but it is not punishment, but correction. We are to pay attention to it. God’s motive is to prevent our self-destruction, or being destroyed by circumstances. It is always to get our attention and put us back onto a path of sanctification which will ensure our ultimate good.
Next time you experience difficulty and recognise that you are being disciplined, pay attention and make correction to behavior, attitude, talk, or whatever God is addressing.
Thank You Lord that You love me, which means that You will discipline me. Help me to remember that discipline is not punishment, but that discipline is your way of getting my attention, so that I may change my path, or behavior, or attitude. Let me not be put to shame and let me not shame You, but examine my heart and set me straight so that I may more resemble one of your children and thereby glorify You.
Because He Loves Me…