I frequently hear people say things like this:
- I have to get right with God
- God is displeased with me
- God is punishing me
Usually, they say these things because someone has told them that unless they stop doing something, or start doing something they will not receive the blessings of God. The passage used is Hebrews 12 and it is often misused to pain God as a harsh and cruel God who is waiting, club raised, to smack a person over the head.
I once was told by a “friend” that she could no longer be my friend because (in her opinion) I was sinning. She said she didn’t want to be my friend anymore because “I don’t want God to get me.” What nonsense.
Can I just tell you- God is not a “getting” God! Does God discipline us? YES, but not in the way it is wrongfully portrayed by some.
The discipline of the Lord is corrective and purposeful. There is always a measure of training that accompanies His intervention in our lives because His goal is restoration and teaching. God does not punish Believers in the way some say He does. Punishment is reserved for unbelievers who are under the wrath of God.
Do we who are under grace have consequences? Of course we do! Often they are God’s greatest blessing to us because they remind us that our lives are not our own, we belong to someone greater than ourselves. Our consequences very often bring pain and pain is a great motivator! When I experience pain I am reluctant to make that same move twice. This is God’s formula for teaching us and disciplining us.
Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Hebrews 12:9-11 (NASB)
God’s goal for the Christian is Christlikeness. We are to end this life looking as much like Christ as possible so that when people see you and me, they are seeing Him. For some of us, that is going to take a lot of discipline!
When God begins to sand those rough and pointy edges of your heart and character it is great cause for rejoicing dear sisters, for it is another identification of belonging to Him! (Heb. 12:7-8)