1 Corinthians 11:32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.
I have probably done public reading of verses 23-26 of this chapter more than any other part of the Bible, because of regularly celebrating Communion. Somewhat less often I have read through verse 29. However, I’m not sure I’ve ever publicly read this verse in a service. It actually should be a very comforting verse for most believers. Frankly, we don’t like being disciplined, any more than children do. That’s actually a good thing, because the avoidance response is a good tool to help us stay on the path. However, as it says in Hebrews, “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.” (Hebrews 12:11) God’s discipline is always for our good, as parental discipline should be (though sadly it isn’t always). If God let us get by with things, our natural human tendency would be to go further and further afield, resulting, as this verse says, in our being “condemned with the world.” Believe me, we don’t want that! The problem is that we often don’t connect the circumstances of our lives with God’s discipline. We attribute every bad thing to someone or something outside of ourselves, failing to judge ourselves, as it says in the verse before this. One of the biggest problems in modern society is the rejection of the very concept of personal responsibility. Even violent criminals are excused because “they had a rough childhood.” That kind of talk (it’s not really thinking) is a concerted effort on the part of the devil to destroy society, because he is always out to “steal, kill, and destroy.” (John 10:10) Not every rough thing in our life is our fault, by any means, but we always need to be humble before God to ask Him to show us how we are to respond. Often enough, repentance is the first thing called for, but if we fail to recognize that, things will just continue to get worse.
I’ve experienced the Lord’s discipline, and I’ve also gone through rough situations that were simply to train me to keep trusting God. I’ve ignored God enough that I’m not surprised when bad things happen, but that doesn’t mean I’m to “take them lying down,” so to speak. I’m quick to counsel humility before God when I’m talking with others, but I must never forget it myself! To be honest, one thing I’m looking forward to about heaven is that since I will be free from the presence of sin, I’ll also not have to endure any more of the Lord’s discipline! That said, fear of discipline should not be my prime motivation for staying on the “straight and narrow,” but rather my love for God, in response to His love for me. As a parent I know that it is painful when my children do things that hurt themselves, and my heavenly Father is the same way. I want to be pure, holy, and obedient so that I won’t hurt Him!
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for Your discipline, and for how gentle You have been with me even in that. May I respond to everything in my life as You want me to, so that I may be transformed more and more into the likeness of Your Son, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!