The Pain of Discipline

Two nights ago, my husband was sick with food poisoning or some vile intestinal virus.  Though our medicine cabinet is chock-full of bottles and boxes, we had no digestive meds.  So, around midnight, eyes heavy and ready for sleep hours earlier (don't judge! remember, I'm 26 weeks pregnant!), off to CVS I went.  We were up until 1 or 2...

Then last night, while hanging out with my brother and sister-in-law and their family (who we rarely get to see), Moses spewed all over my lap, then all over himself.  Two baths and two new outfits later, we headed home in the car and about 3 minutes into our 14 minute drive, he spewed again, all over his new outfit and carseat, and not into the bag we gave him to throw up in (of course).  No, that bag was smooshed down in his anguished projectile-vomit-style hurls.

And you know what horrific thing I saw each night?  No, I don't mean the physical sights... YUCK.

I saw my own ugliness of heart.  I saw my own selfishness, desire for sleep despite the needs of people I love.  I saw my own impatience as I grumped at Doug last night.  I saw a demanding of my own rights, even if internally, though Jesus "was in the form of God and did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant."

Discipline.  God is disciplining me.  Showing me my weak spots and training me.  Giving me opportunities to do right or do poorly, and then shining light into ugly corners of my heart.

This passage in Hebrews is among my favorites.  Don't glaze over it because it's long, or because it's familiar... really read each word.  Take them in:

"6  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.  7  It is for discipline that you have to endure.  God is treating you as sons.  For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  8  If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.  9  Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them.  Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?   10  For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness.  11  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."  ~Hebrews 12: 6-11

In that passage, I bolded the parts that particularly encourage me as a believer, and I underlined the parts that encourage me as a parent.  Here's a quick bulleted list of what some take aways are from this wonderful passage about discipline:


  • We may be likely to minimize, and/or grow weary of the discipline of the Lord... but we should not do this. (v. 6)
  • God's motive for discipline is His love for us. (v. 6)
  • If we do not receive the Father's discipline, we are not truly his children. (vv. 6-8)
  • We should do more than just respect it as a human respects his father for having disciplined/trained him rightly... we should willingly subject ourselves to His discipline so that we will truly live.  (v. 9)
  • God disciplines us for our good. (v. 10)
  • God's discipline has the purpose/end of us sharing in His holiness (His purity & set-apartness). (v. 10)
  • His discipline will seem painful rather than pleasant. (v. 11)
  • His discipline will yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness in our lives, if we submit to His training. (v. 11)


  • Human fathers disciplining their children is assumed to be a universal truth for all parents/children. (v. 7)
  • Those children who are not disciplined are being treated like illegitimate children, not sons and daughters. (v. 8)
  • When earthly fathers discipline, earthly children respect them. (v. 9)
  • Discipline in the life of a child happens in a "short" window of time. (v. 10)
  • Human discipline differs according to "what seems best" to the parent. (v. 10)
  • All true discipline will seem painful rather than pleasant. (v. 11)
  • True discipline will yield a peaceful fruit of righteousness in the lives of those who have been trained by it. (v. 11)

I am thankful for the role of mom, as it has taught me the importance of training our own kids up, with love and consistency, and it also makes me more willing to submit myself to the discipline of the Lord, knowing how much more perfect His motives and methods are than my own.  Though painful, and though we'd never (in our flesh) choose it, it is so good to see God's hand at work, knowing He means it for our good.


Allison said...

I love this! Thank you! :)

Anonymous said...

I was glad when you started blogging again. I appreciate your thoughtful posts. I'm almost old enough to be your mother (if I were a teen mother ;), but your Biblical insight and meaningful topics encourage me. I have two grown daughters and 3 kids I still homeschool. Blessings to you and keep up the good words.

hestermom said...

Loved this post. :-) a friend sent me a link to your blog. Our families seem quite similar--we are expecting number six in April 2013. Blessings to you and yours!!!