Do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof.  Proverbs 3:11  

The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of many and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. James 3:17  

The Lord reproves those He loves as a parent does a child. Discipline is defined as: “the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience. “ We might read this verse from Proverbs as God punishes those who disobey. Some would say that misfortune is because of our disobedience, we are being punished by God. Or times of trouble come because God is testing us. Verse 3:12 says we should not resent the rebuke because the Lord disciplines those He loves.   

The God who loves each and every one of us does also discipline us like one would a child. But that does not always mean punishment. Having been a dog trainer for a while, we don’t train by punishing the dog for doing something wrong, “against the rules.” Rather we reward the good behavior; sometimes this might take a while to find something good to reward, but over time the positive discipline works well. Previous verses in Proverbs chapter 3 say to trust in the Lord, lean not on our own understanding. God’s wisdom is far beyond ours. What confuses us, is clear to our Lord. 

James writes that this wisdom of God is pure and peaceable and gentle. He contrasts this with those who are full of bitterness and envy – not peaceful or gentle with their fellow believers. God will listen to us; His wisdom and discipline are impartial. If we listen to this wisdom we can be filled with good things and can live at peace with others.   

Wise and loving God, thank you for your overwhelming love that nevertheless guides and disciplines us with a gentle, merciful and kind hand. Forgiving God, we confess that being corrected is never easy. Help us to hear your call to faithfulness and humble us to change what needs changing to bring us closer to you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen  

Chris Gabel