“And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as His children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the LORD’s discipline, and don’t give up when He corrects you. For the LORD disciplines those He loves, and He punishes each one He accepts as His child” (Hebrews 12:5-6 NLT).
While the concept of “God’s discipline” may evoke any number of inferences, it’s important to consider the purpose behind the type of discipline mentioned in the passage quoted above. For instance, these disciplinary measures are designed to be corrective, not punitive. They are not motivated by a sense of retribution, but a sense of love and concern for the best interests of God’s children.
As mentioned in our previous study, these actions serve a specific purpose: “…we are judged and punished by the Lord, so that we shall not be condemned together with the world” (1 Corinthians 11:32). We should also note that Jesus made use of a related concept in John 15:1-5…
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you.
No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (NIV).
A good horticulturist knows that various trees or flowering plants must be pruned occasionally to ensure they remain strong and healthy. This process helps protect such plants from overgrowth and minimizes the potential for damage caused by insects or diseases. It also enables the plant to product higher quality fruit or flowers in greater abundance.
A familiar passage from the Biblical book of Galatians serves to identify the type of fruit God seeks to develop through this approach…
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV).
Therefore, we can find comfort, and encouragement whenever we experience God’s discipline in our lives. As Jesus reminded the New Testament-era church of Laodicea, “I am the one who corrects and disciplines everyone I love…” (Revelation 3:19 NLT).