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Discipline and Grace

Posted: March 31, 2017

In his book entitled Dare to Discipline, James Dobson states,

“When nose-to-nose confrontation occurs between you and your child, it is not the time to have a discussion about the virtues of obedience. It is not the occasion to send him in his room to pout. It is not appropriate to wait until poor, tired old dad comes plodding in from work, just in time to handle the conflicts of the day. You have drawn a line in the dirt, and the child has deliberately flopped his big hairy toe across it. Who is going to win? Who has the most courage? Who is in charge here? If you do not answer these questions conclusively for the child, he will precipitate other battles designed to ask them again and again.”

In this text, James Dobson is specifically discussing discipline in a parent-child relationship. But I’d like to think this can relate to our spiritual life as well. When we deliberately disobey God, he will ensure that his discipline is thorough. But his discipline is not to pay you back for your mistakes. No! His discipline is to help bring you back from your own path of destruction. Isn’t that also your ultimate goal in discipline as a parent? You discipline your child when they deliberately disobey you because you love them, and want them to learn the right behavior so they won't walk a destructive path. It’s the same way with God. God’s heart is always to draw you back to himself. Therefore, he is thorough in his discipline, but also generous in his grace when you return to him.

“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)”
- Ephesians 2:4-5 NLT

Lord, forgive me for my disobedience. Thank you that your discipline is thorough with the intent to draw me back to you. Thank you that you are rich in mercy and generous in grace when I return to you. In Jesus’ name, amen.