The Chastening of the Lord

There are multiple reasons for trials and tribulations in your life.  Trials may come as a result of your faith in Jesus Christ.  Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  You should rejoice for persecution trials.  Trials may come to test the genuineness of your faith.  1 Peter 1:6-7 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Abraham’s faith was tested by God and he passed the test (Genesis 22:1-18).  Is your faith genuine and strong?  Trials will prove the nature of your faith. 

While there may be multiple reasons for trials in your life, I want you to consider that God allows trials to come into your life to chasten you for things that need to be changed in your life.  You are a child of God and He loves you.  1 John 3:1a “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” Since He is your heavenly Father and you are His child, He is going to treat you like an earthly father would treat the child that he loves.  Hebrews 12:5-11 “And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.’  If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?  But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.  Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?  For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.  Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

When you sin, God allows you to suffer the consequences of your sin.  I like to divide consequences into natural consequences and logical consequences.  Natural consequences are things that naturally occur as a result of what you do. Sin looks desirable to our fleshly nature, but it results in consequences that are usually very bad.  If you commit a crime and the authorities apprehend you, you may have to go to prison.  If you take illicit drugs, you may become addicted and suffer the damaging effects of the drug.  If you tell a lie and it is discovered, you will lose the trust of others.  These kinds of things will come upon you as a natural consequence of your sin.  There may also be logical consequences.  The Old Testament is filled with example of times when the Israelites turned away from God and worshiped idols.  God sent prophets to rebuke them and encourage them to change.  When they did not change, He allowed various nations to conquer the Israelites, enslave them, and mistreat them.  Sometimes the Israelites repented and turned back to God.  In the same way, God may allow trials to come into your life as consequences of your sin in an attempt to cause you to repent and turn away from your sin. He wants you to be holy and righteous before Him. 

Jesus said in Revelation 3:19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” Job 5:17-18 “Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.  For He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole.”  1 Corinthians 11:31-32 “For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.”  If you take God’s chastening in the right spirit, you will appreciate that He loves you and He wants you to change from your sin.

The apostle Paul rebuked the Corinthian church in the first Corinthian letter for some of the wrong things they were doing.  We see that they took the rebuke from Paul in the correct spirit.  Paul later wrote in 2 Corinthians 7:8-11 “For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing.  For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.  For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”  Just as the Corinthian church had godly sorrow and repented, when you sin and God chastens you, have godly sorrow and repent as well.  James 4:8-10 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

I encourage you to accept the rebuke and chastening from the Lord when you sin.  Humble yourself.  He loves you and wants you to be holy before Him.