How does God discipline us?
This is a question I have been asking myself a lot lately, mainly because I didn’t have a clue to the answer. This is a topic rarely touched upon in Church, mainly because it is just teaching and may only really apply to youths who are still learning to manage their life.

I really feel that knowing Gods discipline is so important, because it is the key to repentance. When we fail to recognize Gods discipline, we fail to see our error, and so we keep on sinning and never repenting. It’s like when you are trying to discipline a child and correct them, and all they do is smirk and ignore you.
Plus, when we don’t know what Gods discipline looks like we can often blame God for things, and assume it is his will for bad things to happen.

So what is it then?
A lot of people say that God disciplines us through situations and experiences. That may be true in one sense because the definition of discipline is “the practice of training people to obey rules”. Just like you discipline a soldier, giving him hard tasks and teaching him to obey orders. But I am talking about correction, the discipline that comes after we have done something wrong.
I can’t see that God uses situations and experiences to discipline us when have sinned. Because Gods discipline always has a reason and comes from our error. So we are saying that God is doing THIS because I did THIS. What about when you sin, and nothing bad happens and everything actually gets better? God is clearly not disciplining us then through situations.
Some people say that Gods discipline is through our health and bodies. But this doesn’t make sense for the same reasons.

Looking inside not outside
My thought is, God only uses our hearts to discipline us.
So many times we look externally for God, when in fact he lives inside of us. We look at our experiences and search for Gods direction and discipline. But the Holy Spirit lives in us, and that is our direction and discipline.

In understanding things like this, it’s always helpful to look at the opposite. How does God reward us when we succeed? He rewards us internally, with satisfaction, joy and fulfilment.
So how does God discipline us when we sin? Same and opposite. He disciplines us internally, with dissatisfaction, emptiness and a lack of peace.
Psalm 37v4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires or your heart”
When we walk in righteousness and delight ourselves in God’s word are hearts are fulfilled. When we do the opposite by sinning, God disciplines us with a lack of joy and peace.

Ephesians 6v4 talks about the breastplate of righteousness that covers our hearts.
When we are righteous, our hearts are protected by God from all worry, guilt, shame and sorrow. But when we sin and let that guard of righteousness down, our hearts are victims to worry, guilt, shame and sorrow.
Psalm 85v10 says “Righteousness and peace kiss each other”
Where there is righteousness in your life, there is peace, they go hand in hand.
So where there is sin, there is a lack of peace, Gods discipline.

Hebrews 10v16 says “...I will put my laws in their hearts and I will write them on their minds”
Gods law is no longer external and written down, but rather in our hearts. So when we sin and break Gods law, the error and consequence is in our hearts.
Really the tool of Gods discipline is our conscience.
2 Cor 1v12 says “Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world...”

Accepting Gods Discipline
Hebrews 12v5 “My son, do not make light of the Lords discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you”
Here Paul is quoting a proverb, but he writes it a little differently and gives 2 extremes of how we accept Gods discipline,” making light of it” and “losing heart”.

So often we can take Gods discipline lightly. We can become so conservative and say things like “I’m only human” and “the devil is making me feel bad for this sin”. When we sin, we just shrug and never really accept Gods discipline. That is the devil pulling as away from repentance by telling us we have done nothing wrong, and so we stay in sin for so much time. That’s really the case with masturbation, every guy wants to do it, and it’s so easy to listen to the devil saying “it’s not a sin, it’s perfectly fine”!
We fail to see Gods perspective on our actions and so we only see them from a worldly point of view.

The other extreme, is losing heart. Sometimes we can accept Gods discipline so much and beat ourselves up for our sins. The devil drives us to this extreme by constantly accusing us and making us feel guilty for ages. All so that we are put off from God, we have no desire left to get close to God in case we sin again. We lose our passion and intimacy because the devil has made us feel constantly guilty.

The fact is, we should feel guilty for our sin! That’s Gods discipline.
The definition of guilt is “The fact of having committed an offence or crime”
But what the devil wants to do is either take that guilt away, so that we ignore Gods discipline and never repent. Or he increases the guilt to a level that destroys our passion for God. Our guilt from our sin should only be temporary, long enough for us to repent, and short enough for us to keep our heart for God.
Read the story of David’s sin with Bathsheba in 2 Sam 11 and 12 and how he repents. David feels really guilty and sorrowful for his sin, and rightly so. But when it was over, when his illegitimate son died, he got up from the ground and felt guilty no more.

That’s how we accept Gods discipline.
Gods discipline is that our sins are on our conscience.
We should feel guilty and sorrowful, but only temporarily.
We need to truly accept what we have done, and listen to what our hearts are saying.
Repent because of how bad you feel and sin no more.
Don’t take Gods discipline lightly and don’t lose heart. Keep a balance!
Don’t let anyone tell you “You shouldn’t feel guilty”
Dont let the devil say “You will feel guilty forever”