Day 9: Understand the Lord’s Discipline
When my children were learning to walk, they often fell. All children learning to walk do; it comes with the territory. But each of those early steps filled them with such delight. They giggled and snorted even when they tripped and fell because they knew they were learning to walk. And they knew that their father was right there cheering them on.
If you’re trusting in Jesus Christ as your only hope to stand before a holy God, then you are a child of God. This is your chief identity.
Despite all your failures, God sees you not as dirty but as clean—not as wretched but as loved. Neither your shame nor your sexual sin defines you. It used to define you, but not anymore.
When God adopts us into his family, this means he becomes our Father. And because God is a good Father, he disciplines those he loves.
The author of Hebrews talks about this. It might strike our ears as strange, but the author wants Christians to see the good news of our heavenly discipline. It’s a lengthy passage in Hebrews 12, so I’ll just read one part of it (vv. 6–7):
Have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
The author of Hebrews makes a simple point: when we’re rebuked by God, we should be thankful. Why would we do that?
Because his rebuke means he loves us and is treating us as sons. On our own, we wouldn’t treat sin seriously enough. We’d dismiss it with superficial excuses and move on as though nothing was wrong.
It’s easy to get discouraged about all the sin and struggles in our lives. Don’t despair. Though discouragement comes, remember that even when it feels like he’s not, your heavenly father is cheering you on. He wants you to win this war.
How is or was your relationship with your father? When you were growing up, did he discipline you with love? If not, what obstacles does this create for you as you read Hebrews 12 and think about a loving heavenly Father?
Is there bitterness in your heart about a time you were caught in sin? If so, have you considered that it might have been God’s love that allowed you to get caught?
Take 5 minutes to think and pray about these questions. Tomorrow is the last video. In it, I’ll end with my final encouragement.
Thank you for watching these videos. If you’ve found them helpful, be sure to share them with your friends and church leadership. To go deeper on each of these strategies (and a dozen other strategies), check out my book Struggle Against Porn: 29 Diagnostics for Your Head and Heart.