Comfort in Discipline

There was a gentleman in my church who used to be fond of saying, “Your sins will find you out.”  He has since gone to be with the Lord and he had an amazing testimony of how God changed his life. That phrase he loved to use is a quote from Numbers chapter 32 verse 23. And as I’ve discovered, and I believe this is true for even the most faithful Christians, my friend was absolutely right.

When God convicts us of sin through the Holy Spirit and brings it to light, I don’t think anyone enjoys the discipline that always follows. In fact, the Bible says there is no pleasure in it at all. In the 12th chapter of the book of Hebrews for instance, the scripture says:  For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

As I thought about that one day and reflected on the times when I’ve been on the receiving end of God’s discipline, it brought peace though I must admit I don’t fully understand why or how. I just know it brought comfort and as strange as it may sound, I was suddenly very grateful for those times when God got my attention and brought me to repentance.

How is that possible? How can the pain of discipline and peace and comfort go hand in hand?
There are many passages of scripture that address that question, but I chose two that seem to offer the most simple answers. One is from the Psalms, the other from Proverbs.
Palm 119:50
My comfort in my suffering is this:
    Your promise preserves my life.
Proverbs 3:11
For the Lord corrects those he loves,
    just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.

 When we’re being disciplined by almighty God, believe me, it is painful spiritually and sometimes it’s painful physically. But as the Psalmist wrote, we are comforted by God’s promises even when we’re suffering, including the suffering that results from the pain of God’s discipline. But as painful it is, the alternative is worse and this is exactly why God corrects those He loves. He disciplines us for the exact same reasons we discipline our own children. We do it because we love them, and it’s never pleasurable to have to administer punishment when our children do something wrong.

God wants none of us to suffer loss as a result of sin. He does not want any of His children to suffer the loss of fellowship as a result of sin. He will do whatever He has to do to get our attention to bring us to repentance and to bring us back into fellowship. Couple that with the knowledge that God provided the payment for sin in the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and it reveals the enormous depth of God’s love for His children. That’s why we’re able to look back on the times when God disciplined us, and be comforted. The comfort comes not from the pain, but from the love of God.

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