For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. (Hebrews 12:6, ESV)

In His sovereign love, God purposefully disciplines His children to help us become holy.

“Just wait until your father gets home!”Did you ever hear your mother say that when you were a child? Those words sent chills up my spine when I was younger. If anything, hearing my father was coming home should have been a joyous occasion – but not so much when misbehaving and in need of some corrective “belt time.”

Understandably, no one likes corrective discipline. It’s no fun as a child and only gets worse as an adult. To be spanked, placed in “time out,” or (worse yet!) made to hug one of your siblings after fighting simply didn’t rank very high on my list of Loving Acts by a Parent. When received as an adult, corrective measures are even more impactful. A demotion at work, a speeding ticket, maybe even a jail sentence – all these experiences can be terrifying at the time. Nevertheless, their main purpose is to correct wrongful, immoral, or even dangerous behaviors.

As our Heavenly Father, God’s main goal is to transform us into Christlikeness. He does this for several reasons. First, it is for our own good (Hebrews 12:10a). Secondly, so we may attain His holiness in all areas of our lives (Hebrews 12:10b). Thirdly, so we may demonstrate “a harvest of righteousness and peace” (Hebrews 12:11). Why is holiness so important? “Without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). Just as our earthly parents lovingly disciplined and trained us to be “livable,” God, in His love, is preparing us to live with Him.

Peter tells us the battle for holiness begins in our minds: “Prepare your minds for action, be self-controlled” (I Peter 1:13 / NIV). Instead of thinking impure thoughts driven by selfish desires, we are to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5).  Instead of living in conformity with this sinful world, we must align our morals with God’s Word to “be holy in all you do” (I Peter 1:15). Holiness demands a mental commitment to live physically pure and morally blameless.

Instead of living in fear of the imminent return of our Heavenly Father, let us learn from His discipline, live holy lives, and joyfully await His return when we will hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).

Holy children of God, “Just wait until your Father gets here!” is a cause of celebration!

Discussion Questions

  1. What “sovereign discipline” are you currently experiencing?
  2. How are you allowing God’s discipline and trials to make you holy?
  3. Are you fearfully dreading or joyously awaiting the Lord’s return?
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