Does God Discipline?
Revelations 3:19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline…
I prefer to think of God as a kind, grandfatherly figure who would never discipline me. As I am forgiven, I like to imagine that the strings between my behavior and consequences have been cut.
Jesus, in today’s passage, said otherwise though. It seems that it is precisely because God loves me that He allows me to suffer the consequences of my destructive behavior. Paul promised that when I sow the seed of my fleshly desires, I will eventually reap a crop of pain (Gal. 6:7,8). It is a cosmic, unavoidable principle, that when I pursue my selfish desires, I find some misery.
It is often only in my misery that I become willing to change. When I am fat, dumb and happy, I feel no need to undergo the pain of transformation. As change is never easy, I usually refuse to go through it until the discomfort of the status quo becomes too severe.
In my addiction, I acted as a child and required a giant time-out. I got it. In treatment, I had time to think about what I had done. I had behaved as a child and deserved to be treated as one.
I would love to say that I learned my lesson and have followed God perfectly ever since. Like a child though, I quickly forget. When life returns to normal, I become distracted by my selfish desires and once again, pursue destruction. Then, I find pain and repeat the cycle of discipline and repentance. Like the Israelites of old, I sin, suffer discipline, repent and eventually return to normal.
I do not want normal or natural though. I want supernatural. I want God, in good times and bad. I want to follow Him because I continually see my need for Him. I do not want to follow only in times of trial and discipline. Daily, I must choose to deny self and follow him, not just because He disciplines me, but because He loves me and I love Him.