Discipline is not something that most of us welcome. All too often, it invokes the idea of punishment. Yet they are actually two different things, even though we sometimes use the words interchangeably. Both generally come in response to a failure or transgression. And they may sometimes feel the same. But punishment is retributive, while discipline is corrective.
Discipline aims to direct a person toward some goal by correcting inappropriate behavior. That correction is often unpleasant, but it helps us to learn. As a young child, I experienced disciple from my parents. It was not something I enjoyed at the time. But I learned from it, and in time, I became very thankful for it. I was blessed to have been disciplined by my parents.
Blessed is the one you discipline, LORD,Psalm 94:12 NIV
the one you teach from your law;
And what was true of my parent’s disciple is even more true of God’s discipline. My parents disciplined me as they thought best. But God’s discipline is always for my best good. His discipline shapes and molds me according to his purpose for my life (Phil. 2:13). I can trust that no matter what happens in my life, the good, the bad, and the ugly, God will use it to discipline and teach me (Heb. 12:7). And through it all, to enable me to walk with him both now and through eternity. We are indeed blessed to be able to experience God’s love through his discipline.