Daily Devotional

Joni Eareckson Tada’s inspirational daily devotionals are biblical insights that will enrich,
enlighten, and encourage you in your walk with Christ Jesus.

Discipline or Punishment?

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.  Revelation 3:19

Often when I share my testimony, I reflect on how “off-track” I had become in my Christian life before my diving accident. “You know,” I said recently, “I was involved in some pretty immoral stuff when I was on my feet. Even though I was a Christian, I was sinning big-time, heading down a wrong path. Deep in my heart, I know that if my accident hadn’t happened, I would have completely ignored my convictions in college.” Someone who was listening asked me, “Joni, are you saying that God was punishing you with a broken neck?”

It was a good question. My mind went to Hebrews 12:6: “The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” And I had to look that person straight in the eye and say, “Yes, I believe God was punishing me for doing wrong.” But there are two kinds of punishment. One is retribution: that’s what God does with unbelievers, with wicked people who shake their fist at him, scorn all his standards, and walk right into judgment. But the other kind is restoration. That is when the Father sends discipline into the life of one of his own, to bring that son or daughter back to the path of life. It is restorative suffering intended to purge sin and rebellion from our hearts.

No, it still isn’t easy to take. As Scripture says, “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it is painful!” (Hebrews 12:11, nlt). But during my long months in the hospital, I finally admitted and repented from that disobedience—even to the point that I could thank God for rescuing me from a wayward life.

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God wants to purge us and restore us. He’s done it with me (and keeps on doing it!), and he will do it with you. After all, you’re one of his kids. And he loves you too much to let you ruin your life.

Thank you Father, that though you discipline, you never reject me, leave me, or let me go. 
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