While taking my daily walk in Lebanon, PA, I heard music in the distance. I headed toward it. My ears led me to a field where a school band and flag corp were rehearsing for their half-time show. While the instrumentalists practiced a squat-spin-stand maneuver, I watched as one flag-bearer failed to follow the routine repeatedly. It was pretty obvious: her flag was up when everyone else’s was down! The instructor stopped, addressed the problem, demonstrated the proper way to accomplish the routine, and pointedly encouraged the gal to get her act together. Amazingly the whole corp shaped up, looked sharp and got it right! This is the effect of what Hebrews 12:6-11 calls chastening.
The word “chasten” literally means to educate or train: sometimes with disciplinary correction in view. Though few of us really desire to be “educated” by God like that, it’s good for us. It teaches us some valuable truths. 1) The Lord loves us. 2) The Lord claims us as His kids. 3) The Lord wants His best for us. His discipline is for “our profit that we might be partakers of his holiness.”
So, as the Scripture says, don’t despise this training. Chastening teaches us reverence. And after the training, it yields in us the peaceable fruit of righteousness. In other words, the wild child in us gets wise, grows up, learns respect, says thanks and shapes up.
One boy had to learn that lesson the hard way. The smell of fresh baked bread permeated the house as his Mom asked him to help set the table for supper. The boy refused and blamed his Sunday School teacher. “She said if I did something I didn’t feel like doing, I’d be a hypocrite! I don’t want to be one of those.” Just then Dad walked into the dining room, overheard the conversation and said, “Well son, come here and bend over! I’ll help you feel like it!”
So the next time you blow your temper, kick the dog, lie, steal, cheat and sin willfully, be thankful when God catches you and teaches you a lesson, helps you feel like it or let’s just say, chastens you. If you’re His child, He will. If not, aren’t you ready to experience the Father’s love?