Marriage God's Way
9/12/16 at 04:51 PM 0 Comments

God’s Chastening Is Not Punishment, but a Father’s Loving Discipline

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The following is an excerpt from my book, Marriage God's Way by Scott LaPierre.

Marriage God's Way by Scott LaPierre

Hebrews 12:5–6 discusses the way God produces good in our lives:

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.”

We often apply these verses to God’s punishment of sin, but the real context is God working out certain issues to produce fruit and righteousness in our lives. Since none of us is a perfect husband or wife, we all have sin in our marriages. That means each of us has certain behaviors and struggles God needs to fix as we grow in our sanctification and become more like Christ. God will chasten us to make that happen. While that does not always feel good, we should embrace the chastening, understanding that God is doing something good and worthwhile in our life.

The author of Hebrews goes on to say in verses 11–13:

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. Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.

How true are these verses! Nice, gentle back rubs feel good. They are enjoyable. But they don’t do much for our lower back problems. If we really want solutions, we must experience some discomfort. Likewise, it is not easy or enjoyable to deal with our weaknesses. People don’t want to talk about their struggles as a husband or wife. But that’s how we grow, and that’s how we allow God to work. Indeed, that’s how “the peaceable fruit of righteousness” is produced in our lives.

Interestingly, the above passage suggests that this does not happen for everyone. Only certain people receive the “peaceable fruit of righteousness.” According to verse 11, it is those who “have been trained by [the chastening].” The Greek word for “trained” is gymnazo, related to our word “gymnasium.” It means to exercise vigorously. Improving our marriages is hard work. As we embrace the struggles in marriage, talking about them and working through them, we need to give ourselves the exhortation the author of Hebrews gives his readers. Let’s strengthen our weak hands and feet, trusting God to make straight paths for our marriages to be healed.

As I look back at that painful time in our marriage that I discussed in chapter one, I am very thankful for it. Like all trials, God used it for our benefit. James 1:2–4 says:

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

One of the greatest blessings from this trial in our lives—one of the ways God used it powerfully—relates to what He taught Katie and me through it. It is not easy to understand how powerful God’s Word is when you have not seen it work. It is not easy to understand the importance of obeying Scripture until you have disobeyed it and personally experienced the negative consequences.

That difficult season in my marriage taught me a number of the principles I share in this book. This is when I learned how important it is to apply God’s Word and lean on the Holy Spirit for help. This is when I had to embrace the struggles with Katie so our marriage could improve. I had to ask my wife the tough questions, such as: “What do we need to do to make this work? What do I need to change? How am I failing you?” I also had to ask her to forgive me for not making her the supreme relationship—second to Christ—the Lord wanted her to be in my life.

This is an excerpt from my book, Marriage God's Way by Scott LaPierre.

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