In What Ways Does God Chastise His Children?

In What Ways Does God Chastise His Children? May 22, 2017

God says that He chastises every child of His but why and in what ways does God discipline His children?

Discipline and Love

You cannot separate discipline from love because a lack of discipline in one’s own children or one’s own life shows a lack of love for their children or for the Lord. Jesus said, “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him” (John 14:21). I love my wife and desire to please her but I love the Lord even more and my love for Him motivates me to obey Him, so if God doesn’t discipline me when I need it, it shows He doesn’t love us. The most loving thing we can do is to discipline our children so that they will know we care about them and their future, so the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference or apathy. Parents who raise children and allow them to live undisciplined lives may create an adult who has difficulty obeying authorities in society. Charles Spurgeon said “If we never have headaches through rebuking our children, we shall have plenty of heartaches when they grow up,” and so will law enforcement.

The Lord Disciplines Those He Loves

The author of Hebrews writes “do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Heb 12:5-6). If the Lord did not care for us, the Lord would not discipline us since “It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons” (Heb 12:7-8), and since “we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live” (Heb 12:9). The Lord “disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness” (Heb 12:10). Discipline is not fun. In fact, at “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” (Heb 12:11). That should be in the forefront of our minds when we are disciplined by the Lord. He means it for our good. Solomon adds, “My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD Or loathe His reproof” (Prov 3:11), “For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights” (Prov 3:12), so that should change our perspective on being disciplined by the Lord.

For-the-Lord-disciplines (1)

Through Illness

God kept Paul humble through his thorn in the flesh. God has humbled many men and women by allowing them to battle through illness, but the Lord might allow an illness or disease to bring us to an end of ourselves and put our trust in Him. When we cannot handle our trials, we should come to depend on God. When a believer is living in disobedience, and all other disciplines of the Lord are not working, God may allow illnesses as a way to draw us to Himself so that we might have utter dependence on Him, which is what He desires anyway.

Financial Difficulties

When we hit rock bottom in finances and have nowhere else to turn, we should turn to God. God wants us to rely on Him for our needs, and if we are seeking the kingdom first, He promises to supply every need (Matt 6:33), but if we’re not putting Him first, this promise is null. When we see our finances dwindle we might (or at least should) start to examine our lives to see how good or bad of a steward of God’s provisions we have been. If we are neglecting the Lord and His work, we are not pleasing God, however God is more interested in our hearts than our pocketbooks, but look at the Lord’s discipline as a proof of His love for you.


When a marital relationship or a relationship between parents and children are wrecked, we should run to the Lord and bow down in prayer and seek to find out what He is telling us in this. It could be that we are disconnected from a relationship, or a relationship is ruined and the Lord wants us to examine how we are treating the other person(s) but a ruined relationship might be a way that God bring us to the Himself and to seek His wisdom in restoring the relationship. Those we love the most are also those who can hurt us the most. The greatest risk is to love someone and risk being hurt, but to not take that risk can lead to an even greater hurt in living a life of isolation without personal relationships.


Does this mean that every bad thing that happens to us is the Lord’s discipline? No, it might be the Lord’s way of conforming us into the image of Christ. It could be we are reaping what we have sown. It may be due to persecution because of our faith in Christ. The believer knows that everything that happens to them is in the sovereign will of God and is working in us for our good (Gen 50:20; Rom 8:28). Being corrected or going through trials can be opportunities for growth. The Lord intends trials and tribulations to work for our good and not our hurt. Finally, perhaps God desires we examine ourselves and look at our lives and lifestyle. He is interested in eternity and not the present only. God sees into the future and that’s why He disciplines His own children, for what loving father doesn’t discipline his own children? God’s discipline of us is proof that He loves us because discipline = love, whereas no discipline shows a lack of love, care, concern, and compassion.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is host of Spiritual Fitness and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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  • Iain Lovejoy

    Hmmm. I am not sure about the implication above that if you are having financial difficulties you are sinning, and a bit more religion and God will restore your wealth. Rather smacks of prosperity Gospel to me, particularly the idea that if we are “good stewards” (which is often code for “giving the church money”) we will receive financial reward. Perhaps I am misreading, however.

    • pud

      You’re not sure about anything if you don’t get the real message here.

      hint….you’re all raving lunatics

  • Jerry Lynch

    I define discipline as “encourage to grow.” Sort of helps in the acceptance department.

  • Maltnothops

    If one has two out three ( financial difficulties but excellent health and strong relationships OR health and wealth but poor relationships OR the third combo), what does that indicate with respect to divine discipline?

    What about one out of three?

    • Sam Andrew

      God’s a fan of Meatloaf – Don’t be sad ‘cause 2 out of three ain’t bad?

  • pud

    Clearly one of your most INFANTILE essays ever!

    “The believer knows that everything that happens to them is in the sovereign will of God”

    Then that makes you lunatics nothing but puppets doesn’t it?

    “God sees into the future”…. Well then, he can’t be all powerful can he? If “he” LOL sees the future then he is powerless to change it.

    You wallow in ignorance, stupidity, irrationality and pure gullibility.

    • Sam Andrew

      I thought you’d go down the celestial wife beater path for your unfailing response for this one – it’s a treasure trove of abuse justification quotes.
      “but look at the Lord’s discipline as a proof of His love for you”
      “He loves us because discipline = love”
      “The Lord intends trials and tribulations to work for our good and not our hurt.”
      Disturbing stuff….

      • pud

        Seemed too obvious at this point.

        We all know that we’re filthy rags to the lord so we deserve whatever his mood of the day doles out to us. You see the lord of the universe micro manages everyone’s life for their own good and if you serve him a shitty meat loaf …. well you deserve a good beating.

        • Sam Andrew

          Right I forgot, my fault….I just keep eating cheeseburgers (Exodus 23:19) and pork, wearing cotton poly shirts (Leviticus 19:19) and not stopping women gossiping in church (1 Corinthians 14:34–35)…unfortunately in my experience with people in fundamentalist Christian groups it isn’t obvious how depraved these beliefs are, they insulate themselves from the rest of the world so much in their own little corners (notably smaller groups e.g. JWs) that such beliefs continue to be real and valid, they have little to no concept of what constitutes abusive controlling behaviour as their entire religion is based on it – like air, you can’t see it because it’s always been everywhere.

          • pud

            The religious join or are indoctrinated into cults. They insulate themselves from reality so much so that to them every religion is a cult except their own. Even this absolute truth is denied through immense cognitive dissonance, wish thinking and abandonment of reason.

          • Sam Andrew

            Yes the indoctrination is a big factor, having worked in mental health myself, one of the definitions of delusions is as follow –

            Delusions are false beliefs based on incorrect inference about external reality that persist despite the evidence to the contrary and these beliefs are not ordinarily accepted by other members of the person’s culture or subculture.

            The issue being because of their isolation and acceptance by their sub-culture they don’t realise it.

            I think in the case of these extreme beliefs about God controlling their life and disciplining them they should be clinically classified as paranoid and delusional – taking to the extreme ideas about “In What Ways Does God Chastise His Children?” – I have known patients who believed their marriages were ruined, or they lost their jobs due to due to conspiratorial forces most memorably one patient believed a group of students they knew at high school, who they had not seen or been in contact with for over 15 years was responsible for bad events similar to those outlined in the article above, and another believing their deceased mother had orchestrated their diabetes and divorce through secret instructions sent to people after her death. Obviously these people were mentally ill, yet replace high school students and deceased mother with ‘God’ and it is no longer an illness, it is just your ‘religion’ and perfectly fine because a large number of people believe it.

            At least Pastor Wellman acknowledges not all negative life events are likely a result of Gods direct intervention, unfortunately many believers are not so nuanced.

            Consider the following definitions of delusional disorder – The idea appears to have an undue influence on the individuals’s life, and the way of life is often altered to an inexplicable extent.
            – The individual tends to be oversensitive about the belief.
            – No matter how unlikely it is that these strange things are occuring, the individual continues to accept them relatively unquestioningly.
            – Emotional over-investment in the idea such that it overwhelms other elements of their personality.

            These are perfectly applicable to religious fundamentalism yet it is not considered a valid illness due to cultural entrenchment which supports and inculcates such behaviors. I’m not against religious freedom myself, and have a great respect and engage with my own Jewish heritage, but there is a serious issue that is not being addressed in some of these beliefs –while not as obvious as terrorist bombs, the damage to self-esteem, use emotional blackmail and social ostracism in religious groups facilitated by beliefs in divine punishment and ‘total depravity’/’original sin’, need to ‘conform to the image of Christ’ or ‘submit to the will of Allah’ (and being punished by family/peers for apparent failures t do so) is causing real damage to people’s lives as well.

          • pud

            Excellent analysis.

            You’ll never receive a reply from the preacher nor will you ever be intelligently engaged by any of the “believers” here. They will delete you, block you, ban you but they will never respond to your rational, logical critique.

            The sad fact of the matter is, they are wed to these absurd beliefs. They have constructed their entire world view around the superstitious and the ancient books they read. Any prospect that their glass house could get shattered and they will put their fingers in their ears and hum loud enough that your words do not register. “Belief” is way more important than truth.

            Critical thinking is hard. Facing reality is ugly. These low IQ people skirt the difficult work of facing their mortality and admitting that they don’t know everything by cloaking themselves in make believe.

            I wouldn’t care in the least if they didn’t lie to children and seek to enforce their demented ideologies on everyone else

  • Sam Andrew

    “The most loving thing we can do is to discipline our children so that they will know we care about them and their future”

    That is exactly the kind of attitude that starts people on a slippery slope to child abuse, violence against intimate partners and emotional/spiritual abuse within churches and families. Belief in a deity that behaves in a draconian disciplinarian fashion provides the first step in a mindset that enables people to start ‘disciplining’ other people on said deities behalf.

    In general the desire to see relationship/financial/ hardships and illness as evidence of Gods displeasure or attempt to make you ‘learn’ or grow is a desperate attempt to give meaning and simple explanation to complex issues that often have causes far beyond our own control – you cannot control economic conditions/ discrimination that effect your finances, you cannot control other people in relationships (despite some peoples hideous attempts to do so) , or your internal biology which leads to many illnesses. Many people effected by such things do not recover, and often get worse, is this because they failed to ‘learn’ what God wished to teach them, hardly it is because some people cannot cope with life stressors as they unfortunately, often due to no fault to their own lack the resources to do so.

    And honestly do you really want to worship a God who uses such tactics to ‘teach’ people?

  • pud

    Religious evangelicals kill scores in Manchester England. Tell me the difference between what pastor jack babbles and the mindset of these other religious lunatics…

    IS Statement: “With Allah’s grace and support, a soldier of the Khilafah managed to place explosive devices in the midst of the gatherings of the Crusaders in the British city of Manchester, in revenge for Allah’s religion, in an endeavor to terrorize the mushrikin, and in response to their transgressions against the land of the Muslims. And what comes next will be more severe on the worshipers of the Cross and their allies, by Allah’s permission. And all praises due to Allah, Lord of the creation.”

    You see, with a gawd on your side everything is permissible. The only thing keeping christian lunatics from doing the same things is the rule of secular law in the West which is rapidly being eroded by the low IQ imbeciles of “faith”

  • pud

    According to the myth, your gawd “chastised” every living thing on earth save the incestious clan of noah. How would this be different than a “loving” father drowning his family in the bathtub for their own good?

  • pud

    “Egypt Gunmen Killed 23 Coptic Christians as They Drove to Monastery
    Newsweek – ‎31 minutes ago‎
    Gunmen have killed at least 23 Coptic Christians south of Cairo as they traveled to a monastery on Friday, according to the governor of the southern province of Minya.”

    So jack…seeing as you have a direct bat phone to the almighty…why did your gawd “chastise” these believers? Where was he? Where was gentle jesus? What was the divine plan here?

    See why you’re viewed as lunatics?