Prov. 3:11 ¶ My child, do not despise the LORD’S discipline
or be weary of his reproof,
Prov. 3:12 for the LORD reproves the one he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.
Receiving discipline should be part of the natural order of life. It is those, however, who are filled with themselves, their own pride, that are unable to accept any form of discipline or reproof. Because they desire to show the world that they are self-confident, they are unwilling to receive any type of help or redirection. The Proverb reminds us that that it is important to be willing to accept discipline and reproof from the Lord. Why? Because just as an earthly parent takes the time to correct their child, because their desire is to teach them, so the “LORD reproves the one he loves.” There is a direct correlation between discipline and love.
The correlation between love and discipline is an interesting one and certainly one which may need to be examined in light of today’s culture. The idea of physical discipline is one that is greatly embraced these days. It’s time for us to take charge of our physical bodies, giving attention to exercise and diet. This has almost become a religion to many, replacing time at church (for which we find it difficult to plan), and yet finding hours each week to spend at the gym or working out.
While physical discipline seems to be the “in” thing, the idea of reproving someone’s behavior is certainly not. Everything seems to go and there should be approval of all things for without this approval we are not being loving or tolerant. The answer must lie somewhere in the middle of all of this.
For the follower of Jesus Christ not everything is permissible! There should be disciple which comes from the Lord and there ought to be self-discipline in terms of behavior. Instead of bristling at the words of reproof or discipline, we should learn to actively seek out the Lord’s guidance. Just as a small child learning to navigate their way through life has a parent there to gently lead them one way and then another, so the Lord is also present and would like to give us these gentle nudges. The problem is when we don’t want those gentle nudges (which is all too often), we begin banging ourselves on the furniture of life because we refuse to allow God to help us.
Children need discipline, for discipline is teaching and love. If we do not discipline and reprove our children, we are not loving them. It takes time and energy to train up a child.
We need to be open to receiving discipline and reproof in our own lives. The person who cannot receive any criticism, help or guidance in life will find themselves in a difficult place. It is a sign of pride that will not allow someone to be open to learning new things. Be willing to say, “I don’t know” and then learn from those around you. Be willing to tell the Lord, “I don’t know” and then allow the Lord to teach you. There is no place in life to be despising discipline. It is for our own good. We must learn to embrace God’s direction and leading and from those around who can be used to teach us as well.
It’s time to embrace the correlation between love and discipline.
Lord, thank you that you would love me enough to teach and discipline me. Amen.