Reverend Frank I. Williams
Are you ready for the Word!
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor detest His correction; for whom the LORD loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights. Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding; for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold.” Proverbs 3:11-14
Have you ever been corrected by God? This idea is reminiscent of being called into the principal's office for violating a rule at school. But, does God actually correct or chastise us? This text clearly indicates that He does. What’s of interest to me is how does God correct us, and are we aware of it?
Now, think with me for a moment. A parent instructs their teenage child not to do a particular thing; but the child does it anyway. After several attempts to reason with their child, the child continues stubbornly to disobey. What does that parent do? What does correction and chastisement look like? It could be saying “no” to going to a friend’s party that he or she were looking forward to attending, or perhaps, “no hanging out with your friends” for the next month. The whole point is to help the child learn that their behaviors and choices have consequences.
Hebrews 12:7-11 states, “If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 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? 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. 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.”
That passage says it all. God’s chastening is a demonstration of His love. I am fully aware that the term punishment and even chastening, which connotes a physical aspect to being disciplined, is very unpopular because of the increased potential of abuse when discipline involves physical contact. I am also aware that increasingly that kind of discipline is now being regulated to the law enforcement professionals to use in the line of duty. I know that other methods have been developed and recommended to handle unruly children. Chastisement as a form of love does not seem very loving at that moment. And while the approaches differ from culture to culture, we can all agree that at some point stern discipline and corrective action plans are necessary in the process of raising children.
God too operates with this in mind; but, in His case, we are the children – adult men and women who believe in Him as our Creator and Lord. He then looks into our lives, our hearts, and our choices, and out of love provides correction if He sees that we are going in the wrong direction. The question is, how do I know when it’s the Lord correcting me? He doesn’t knock on my door and sit with me. No, but God transmits information our way – something is said to us by a friend, a stranger, or something we hear or read. We then have a choice to make, do I correct course or do I, like that teenage child I mentioned earlier, stubbornly continue in the same vain. The older we get the less we appreciate correction. We know what we want and we are our own man or woman. However, God never stops seeing us as children. So, He chastens us that our lives may “yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness.”
I cannot tell you that there is no a physical component to this chastening by the Lord. I cannot tell you that it is only instructional. After all, God transcends human laws and governments and is not obligated to uphold our methods when He chooses to admonish us. All I can say is that it is up to His best judgment and there is no love that is more trustworthy than the love of God. We can rest knowing that He is working in our lives for our good and for His glory. I personally have to submit to His corrective action plans in my life, and I recommend it for all who love God and for all who know they are loved by God. He is dealing with us as His children, “for whom the Lord loves He chastens.” Think on these things.