The Discipline of God

Sometimes in life it seems as though the wicked go unpunished. Sometimes it seems as though the wrong, injustice, and violence inflicted on a marriage by one of the spouses creates a life for the other that will never be the same. But as Charles Spurgeon said, “Faith in God is the great charmer of life’s care, and he who possesses it dwells in the atmosphere of grace surrounded with a bodyguard of mercies.” That’s just what David is saying too. When you have been wronged by someone you love, trust in the Lord, and look for His mercy. Be glad, rejoice, and shout for joy, for your God will never leave you alone. Your spouse may fail you, but God never will.

Let me address for a moment the unrepentant wrongdoer. There is a sober warning for the one who is complacent in sin, comfortable with breaking God’s covenant. Proverbs 28:13 admonishes, “People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.” There is a mentality today that says, “I can do whatever I want in my marriage, and God will just forgive me.” That is a dangerous outlook, my friend. Yes, God forgives sin, but only when we confess and turn from it. Confess and turn—two aspects to the forgiveness process.

Matthew 5:29–30 sheds some more light on what we are required to do in this process of confessing and turning: “So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand—even your stronger hand— causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” In other words, if your TV is causing you to sin by neglecting your spouse, get rid of it. If the Internet is causing you to sin by pulling you down the path of pornography, get rid of it. It is better to do without than to exist in a living hell because of it. If you are flirting with someone at work, stay away from them—leave your job if necessary. It’s better to be looking for a new job than to be looking for a new spouse because you gave in to sexual temptation.

Thankfully, God does not easily give up on His children. Like any loving parent, He disciplines those who are His: “But consider the joy of those corrected by God! Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin. For though he wounds, he also bandages. He strikes, but his hands also heal” (Job 5:17–18). If you have been dabbling in sin and wondering why trouble has come into your life, I say to you, “Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.” Yes, He chastens and corrects, but your healing and wholeness are found in your response to Him. If you are the perpetrator in marital discord, confess it to God and turn from it. Quit living on the edge of sin and destruction, and come fully into God’s camp. Don’t wait until God has to take measures—sometimes extreme ones—to correct you. This, too, is the voice of experience speaking.

Excerpt from “Happily… Even After” now available on Amazon.

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BARRY STAGNER

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