Put simply, according to Hebrews 12:7-8, if you are a true Christian – then yes, God is disciplining you because he disciplines all true Christians. But there are seasons in life where God is specifically disciplining us in a more intense way and in a particular area of our life to accomplish a specific purpose.
So that’s really what we are talking about in this video. With that said, here are 3 signs God is disciplining you.
1. If a Hardship Is Producing More Holiness in a Particular Area of Your Life, This Is a Sign God Is Disciplining You
In the Bible there is a difference between punishment, consequences, and discipline. I’ve talked more about this in my video called, “Is God Punishing You for Past Relationship Sins?”
In summary, punishment is done to make us pay the debts we owe because of our sins. Because Christ has paid our debts, God never punishes Christians. Consequences are the natural outcomes for the choices we make in life, which can be good or bad depending on our choices. Discipline, however, is done when God is seeking to grow and mature us for our good. Discipline is not done to make us pay for our past sins; rather, it is done to help us grow so we do not commit those past sins again. Hebrews 12:7-11 (NIV) explains:
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. . . . God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Therefore, if you are going through something hard that God is using to increase the holiness in your life, this means God is lovingly disciplining you. The examples are endless, but here’s a few:
- If an extended period of unwanted singleness is causing you to let go of idolizing relationships and it is causing you to grow closer to God, God could be using this season of prolonged singleness as discipline.
- If you are experiencing a healthy guilt about sexual sin or if you are in a season of singleness that God is using to help you overcome sexual immorality, this is a sign God is using these things as discipline.
- If you are going through a financial struggle but this is also causing your trust in God to increase because you know without his provision you would not be making it, this is a sign God is disciplining you.
The point is, if a hardship is being used to produce more holiness in your life and removing sin or a lack of faith, God is lovingly disciplining you.
2. If a Hardship Is Causing Healing in Your Heart, This Is a Sign God Is Disciplining You
Not only will God’s discipline produce holiness in our lives, it will also produce healing in our hearts. Hebrews 12:11-13 says:
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.”
The hardships we experience in life can often feel like they are tearing us apart. But if we are faithful and receive the discipline God is giving us with humility, we will not be torn apart but rather we will be put back together.
Notice it says, “so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.” This analogy starts with something “lame.” God then produces a hardship that directly causes pain to what is already lame. We may feel like God is making something bad even worse, which is why the author of Hebrews says to not think that God is making this lame limb “out of joint.” No, the pain to this lame limb is actually going to heal it and make it strong. If any of you have gone through physical therapy for a part of your body that was lamb, you know the pain done to this is actually going to heal it and strengthen it in the long run.
Likewise, God will bring pain to the lame parts of your heart, meaning that if something is weak and not operating correctly inside of you, he will put you through some physical therapy (so to speak). This will not be “pleasant”. It will be “painful.” But God’s painful discipline brings healing in the end. Again, the examples are endless but here’s a few:
- If you have been passive in your approach towards relationships, God could discipline you with severe loneliness so that you repent of passivity and are motivated to actively participate in your search for the spouse God has for you.
- If your heart was broken by someone in the past, God may increase your memories of this person so that the pain gets so bad you are willing to let this person go, receive healing from the Lord, and be better prepared for the future marriage God does have for you.
- If you were in a season of backsliding from the Lord because you got caught up with an unhealthy person or a bad group of friends, God may strip you of all relationships so he can heal you and prepare you for healthier connections in the future.
The point is, if a hardship is being used to bring healing to your heart, this is a clear sign God is disciplining you.
3. If God Is Increasing Your Dependence on His Grace, This Is a Sign He Is Disciplining You
Without grace, Christianity is turned into a religion like every other religion. Besides Christianity actually be true and all other religions being made by men, Christianity is elevated over every other religious option because of God’s grace offered through Jesus Christ.
Worldly religions say to do this or do that. But Christianity says depend on God’s grace more and more. Christianity is not about doing more; it’s about learning to depend more on God’s grace. God teaches us to do this by putting us in impossible situations where the only option is to depend on God’s grace for undeserved deliverance. Hebrews 12:15-17 states:
See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.”
Hardships are our “chance to repent.” May we not miss them. May we not resist God’s loving discipline but rather learn to depend on his grace more and more.