Hebrews 12:5-6 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "MY SON, DO NOT DESPISE THE CHASTENING OF THE LORD, NOR BE DISCOURAGED WHEN YOU ARE REBUKED BY HIM; (6) FOR WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE CHASTENS, AND SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES."
As parents, we chastise our children. We discipline them when they are disobedient, but we also give encouragement and try to uplift them when they are being obedient or when they are discouraged. We are parents. We love our children. We want them to be able to experience everything God has for them. We want the absolute very best that life has to offer them. We want to see every promise God has spoken fulfilled in their lives. God wants the same things for us as His chldren. He has said as much to us:
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
God does not sit in heaven and plot our demise...He said so in Jeremiah. But, He also said we cannot understand His ways:
Isaiah 55:8-9 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. (9) "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
I posted a picture yesterday with a saying on it in preparation of this post: "God is not what you think He is. He is what He says is."
We apply human characteristics to God because that is the level of our understanding and makes it easier for our human brains to comprehend His love for us. Yet, what have little understanding of His thoughts or His ways. We can't. They are both so much higher than what we can produce in our brains. So, what we do is we equate His Fatherhood to our parenthood to our children. It is an easy analogy and one that we are familiar with and one we can understand. So, if we understand His love for us and we know that He thinks good thoughts toward us, and He is looking to give us hope and a future, then we also have to understand that there will be chastisement for disobedience. But, shouldn't there be?
As parents, we tell our children our no for a number of reasons. It could be for their safety to prevent them from getting hurt. We tell them no because we know it will lead to something bad. When they are disobedient, and they will be, we have to find a way to punish without tearing down. Depending on the age of the child depends on the level of punishment we choose to hand out. In my case, my teenage son looses privileges such as no more driving my car, no more xbox or playstation time, and no going out with friends for a set period of time. When he was younger, we had to discipline him differently. Same with his three older siblings. Each child is different and was dealt with differently. But my husband and I always did our best to balance the discipline with love and affection and encouragement and support. Without the positive things, the negative rules and reigns over everything else.
God does the same in His way with each of us.
Hebrews 12:7-9 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? (8) But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. (9) Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?
If we endure the discipline, the chastening, then we are dealt with as sons and daughters...just as we deal with our children. If we run from the discipline, if we choose not to accept it, if we ignore it and do or own thing anyway, then we are considered illegitimate - or born out of something other than the union we claim to have with Christ. Verse 9 says basically we show our human fathers respect. So, shouldn't we be in even more subjection for the Father of Life?
Submission or subjection is a tricky subject, but addressed very simply in the Word.
James 4:7-10 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (8) Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (9) Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. (10) Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
Our human nature is one of rebellion and independence. Submitting ourselves to authority of any kind is difficult, and often seems impossible when we do not respect or even like the one that is in a position of authority over us. Yet, when we submit to God, the devil will flee from us. When we do that, we draw near to God and He draws close to us. We are to cleanse and purify ourselves. Humbling ourselves in the sight of God and putting ourselves directly in subjection to Him and to His word, will bring about God lifting us up. He will encourage us through His word and through His spirit. He will send people to us that will help uplift us in prayer and bring us encouragement as well.
Hebrews 12:10-11 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. (11) 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.
God chastens or disciplines us for our good. Remember, He works all things to good for those that love Him. Even what feels like His discipline, is meant for our good. It may be painful, but it brings about the peacable fruit of righteousness. But the last part of that verse sticks with me: "to those who have been trained by it." We use discipline the same way with our children. We are training them what is right and wrong. we are teaching them good behavior, not bad. Proverbs says:
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
We go through the same training with God in our walk with Him. So, as you go through this week, and weeks to come, remember to submit yourself to God. Give everything to Him and cleanse yourself from the things in your life that are continuing to keep you out from under the chastening of the Lord. Experience the insurmountable joy and peace that comes with total surrounder and submission to the Father.
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