Punishment or Discipline

Discipline or Punishment? Which is it and why do we have to deal with either if we are Christians? This 1-minute devotion explains.

When I was thirty-five, my immune system collapsed and I spent three years struggling with full-time flu-like symptoms. 

During that time, I memorized Hebrews 12:1-12

Verse seven says, "Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?" 

Some of our difficulties are consequences of sin, so I started by asking for guidance (1 Corinthians 11:27-32; Hebrews 12:6).

When God didn't reveal that my problems were related to sin in my life, I tried to focus on my suffering as "training."

Yes! God can use everything for His good purposes, even suffering (Romans 8:28).

Quadriplegic Joni Eareckson Tada encourages us to cooperate with God's discipline, drawing closer to Him and seeking His purposes instead of pulling away and fighting them. 

Does discipline typically draw you closer to the Lord or pull you away?  I encourage you to study these verses: Deuteronomy 8:5; Psalm 94:12; Proverbs 3:11-12; Revelation 3:19. Then focus on discipline as the training of a loving Father.

Source: A Place of Healing, Joni Eareckson Tada

For more understanding of this subject, see:

God Punishes

Discipline, Punishment, Condemnation

If you'd like to do a short study on these twelve verses in Hebrews 12, check out the Bite Size Study today. 

Discipline or Punishment? Which is it and why do we have to deal with either if we are Christians? This 1-minute devotion explains.

Bible Love Notes


  1. It draws me closer!! I can say that without a doubt! During times in my life when my discipline WAS due to sin, the only way I made it through was to submit myself to God and allow Him to change me and shape me even in and especially through the consequences of my own actions. I can also say that when the discipline was "simply" a time of training and had nothing to do with anything I had done wrong, running to God was also the only way I made it through! He offers strength, comfort, wisdom, peace and more to those who welcome His hand on their lives! I am so thankful!

    Blessings, Joan

  2. I'm not sure if all suffering is discipline. I feel it leads people away from God when some Christians say that God is just test them or giving them a trial. I know God is compassionate and doesn't want any of His children to suffer, but because of sin, that is just the way it is. And because God is compassionate, he wants to give all of His children the chance to follow Him and turn away from their sin by their own free will, so He allows it to happen. It's like a father who finds his child horribly injured. He realizes that his other son has done it. He wants justice for the one child and mercy for the other.

    1. Hi Janine,
      We may agree and just be saying the same thing in a different way.

      I definitely don't think all or even most suffering is related to personal sin. But I think God uses all suffering to conform us to the image of Christ as Hebrews 12:7 says: "Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children."

      And this goes along with the principle that God can use all things for our good when we are walking with Him (Romans 8:28). I go into this a bit more in the Bite Size study for today. Maybe it would clarify the principles a bit better.

      But maybe we do disagree on this principle, and I appreciate hearing your views. I certainly don't understand everything perfectly.
      Bless you,

  3. wow! a very powerful testimony you shared, Gail! thank you.