This week we have been talking about God’s discipline and that is a tough subject to understand.
It is hard to see that God’s love can be manifest in discipline; things we want denied, infirmities that we pray to go away and they stay, and even personal tragedies. It is all so confusing. How could a loving God allow such misery?
Dr. Chapman says it well in the words, “His discipline toward us is always for our ultimate good.”
Let’s break this statement down a bit. Focus on the word ultimate. As a human, I have a hard time with that word because it connotes a long-term view. When things in my life are not right, I am focused on the present day circumstances and I am upset. However God is not upset. He knows ultimately that I will be ok.
I need to believe that ultimately I will be ok. I need to believe God.
“His discipline is seldom pleasant and sometimes extremely painful, but His purpose is to move us down the pathway of righteousness and peace,” says Dr. Chapman.
I believe Dr. Chapman is “right on target.”
In Jeremiah 29: 11-14 the Bible says “For I know well the plan I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope. When you call me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you, says the Lord and I will change your lot.”
We want to see the plan, the blueprint for our lives. We want to see the next 20 or 30 steps down the road. We want to know how it is all going to work out.
God knows. We never will.
But what does God want from us?
Dr. Chapman says we need to try to live a life “in keeping with the Creator’s design.” I have a friend who asks why? “What is the big payoff? I will have to give up my drinking, my smoking. I will have to watch what I say. I will have to start coming to church and I will need to begin helping other people. Man that’s no fun.”
What’s the big payoff for choosing to make better decisions?
You know you are moving in the right direction and God knows it too. You are not doing what your friends want. You are not doing what your coworkers want. You are not doing what “the world” wants. You are doing what God wants. God is your accountability partner.
Do you have peace in your life right now?
Do you know you are making the effort to do the right things in your life right now?
Even though you may be experiencing the pain of discipline, are you steady in your course toward God?
Discipline can make us turn away from God, but it is not designed to do that. It is designed to correct us and move us closer to God. Often discipline comes about because we have moved away from our Lord in the first place and He is using discipline to get our attention and correct our behavior.
What about your human relationships?
Do you have peace in your relationships or are you being disciplined right now? Are you having a miserable time with your spouse, family members or friends?
What should we be having with our relationships? Dr. Chapman uses the word “harmony.” By this he means “We want our emotions, thoughts, desires and actions to relate to each other harmoniously.” The truth is, many of us have anxious relationships, disappointing relationships, sad relationships as we can’t find a way to relate to each other.
In the context of his book, we can’t speak a love language that works with those around us.
Or we don’t want to learn how to.
What is the big payoff? In our human relationships it may be learning a new way to communicate which leads to harmony which results in peace.
When we walk in righteousness, we experience peace.
When we walk in righteousness in our relationships, we experience harmony.
I can’t think of a bigger payoff than that.