“My child, do not despise God’s discipline or be weary of God’s reproof, for God reproves the one God loves, as a parent their child in whom they delights.’” Proverbs 3:11-12

     In our house, we use the language of discipline instead of punishment.On the surface, they may seem like the same thing, but they are not. Punishment is about making someone pay for their misdeed. Discipline is about training ourselves not to do that misdeed in the first place.
I work hard to discipline our oldest to do her chores as soon as she gets home from school so that she doesn’t forget or make an adult keep reminding her all evening. When she doesn’t do her chores right away, when we have to keep reminding her and she whines or complains about it, she may get sent to her room for a few minutes or have to sit on a time out… but she knows that it isn’t punitive (at least, we hope so). It is discipline. Those times in her room or on the timeout chair are there for her to think about her behavior and how she might improve the situation.
We do this, and we put great thought into it, and we are intentional about processing these things with out kids because we love them and we want them to be good and respectful people. We want them to be people with integrity – not because they’re afraid of being caught or punished, but because they’ve decided what kind of people they are going to be. We want them to live up to the potential we know they have.
It’s the same with God. God is not seeking to punish us but to discipline us, to help us be people of integrity who are trustworthy and respectful. God disciplines us so that we can strive to live up to the potential that God sees in us.
Just like my kids have chores to do that may not be their favorite thing to rush into, God has work for us to do as well. As we study and pray and serve our neighbors in the world, we live into our potential. We are molded and refined and made into better versions of ourselves. It’s not easy. and sometimes it hurts, but in the end we are the better for it. After a while, reading our bibles, spending time in prayer, and considering the needs of our neighbors become second nature, no longer a chore but a part of who we are and what we do.

Feeling loved a lot lately,
Pastor Mike

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