B0070513 (Part 2)
Two young men that I know recently made a poor decision to dabble in alcohol. They quickly learned it was a mistake that will have very negative consequences on their present and future lives. Many of us have experienced similar events with negative results that altered our outlooks either on life or on faith. We conveniently call these events “learning experiences.” I prefer to call them what Dave Ramsey refers to as “stupid tax.” (I’ve paid plenty of this in my life.) However, as I mentioned in part 1, perhaps the best description of making bad choices, experiencing negative results, and learning from them is discipline.
“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?” (Hebrews 12:7 ESV)
I do not like disciplining my sons. It hurts them, and it hurts me, but, because I love them and I want them to learn to make better decisions, I must discipline them. Once they have learned how to make better decisions, it has trained them and “yielded peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
The consequences of our choices and actions are sometimes painful. But, remember, “it is for discipline that you have to endure.” Back up to verse six of Hebrews 12:
“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves…” (Hebrews 12:6 ESV)
Also consider the words of encouragement James offered the Christian Jews who were struggling because other Jews viewed them as sinners:
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:2, 12 ESV)
If you are experiencing painful circumstances in your life, you may be experiencing spiritual discipline. Keep faith in God’s love and the hope we have in Jesus, and spiritual growth will follow.