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  • Writer's pictureCandice Watters

The Benefits of Discipline (Proverbs 3:11-12)

My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline or be weary of his reproof, ¹²for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. —Proverbs 3:11-12

Left to ourselves, our posture toward discipline is dislike, avoidance, or worse. Solomon corrects us saying, “do not despise the Lord's discipline.” In other words, do not feel contempt toward God when He trains and rebukes you. Why such a strong prohibition? Because sin makes us not just dislike, but hate, the Lord’s discipline. And if we hate it, we can’t reap the benefits that flow from it through God's loving hand.

Love in Action

The first benefit is His love in action in our lives. We’re surrounded by messages that say love means letting us be who we are without criticism, and letting us do what we want without condemnation. But when God’s children sin against Him and against one another, He disciplines them. It would be unloving not to—to let us go our own way in the path of destruction without correction, without setting us back on the path of life.

How are we to welcome the Lord’s discipline, even when it is painful? The key comes in the second part of the verse. Here Solomon reveals the source of the Lord’s discipline: His love. We tend to see the momentary ouch of reproof as unloving because we do not see the horrors of unchecked sin and the far more painful and lasting results it brings in this life and the next. The consequences for sin are necessary to point us to repentance. It's in repenting and turning from sin, to Christ, that we are restored to a right relationship with God. This is only possible because, at the cross, God poured out His wrath against our sin on Jesus.

As painful as correction and consequences are in this life, the alternative to receiving God's loving discipline is suffering His wrath, because the penalty for sin must be paid. The Lord destroys his enemies, says Jude 1:5-7, 11. Revelation 19:15 tells us He will “strike down the nations”—He will smite them, to borrow from the King James Version.

Discipline or destruction—that is the choice before us.

The Peace of Righteousness

The second benefit of discipline is the peaceful fruit of righteousness that comes "to those who are trained by it" (Hebrews 12:11). You can’t be trained by something that you despise. We must embrace God’s discipline, painful thought it be, if we are to reap the benefits it promises. In fact we must embrace it as loving. And it is! Marvel at God’s love for us: the hardest part has been done—Jesus paid our penalty at the cross. What remains is to receive His discipline and reproof as the blessed means He uses to sanctify us, making us more like Christ.

Receiving discipline is a painful necessity in this fallen world. But the pain is not pointless. It is for love, from the God who is love. Embrace the Lord’s discipline, sons and daughters of the King, He delights in you.


For Reflection

  1. Consider the last time you felt the Lord’s discipline in your life. Did you embrace it or resist it?

  2. Ask Him to help you receive His discipline and trust His loving care.

  3. Is it a new concept that godly discipline flows from love and delight? Ask the Lord to teach you how to discipline your children from the same motivation, the way He disciplines you.


Candice Watters is a wife, mom, and editor of the Fighter Verses blog. She and her husband Steve are the co-authors of Start Your Family: Inspiration for Having Babies.


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