You must submit to correction for the purpose of discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? Now if you are exempt from correction and without discipline, in which all share, then you are illegitimate children and not sons at all. Moreover, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us, and we submitted and respected them for training us; shall we not much more willingly submit to the Father of spirits and live? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for only a short time as seemed best to them; but He disciplines us for good, so that we may share His holiness. For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems sad and painful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
My parents had some funny rules in the house, or at least I believed they were funny rules. Sometimes, I thought their instruction only served the purpose of having control of the home. I did not usually see the value in their correction or their leading. Normally, their rules felt confining to me because they were designed to keep me from doing something that I wanted to do but that they did not want me to do. They wanted me home early, but I wanted to stay out late. They wanted me to clean my room, but I preferred to do anything else more entertaining than that. There was a measure of discipline they were trying to instill in me, but I had no desire to develop discipline. Had I honored them as my parents, I would have yielded to their instruction for my good.
I used to envy the kids who seemed free to do as they pleased. I wanted parents who would let me live my own life and make my own decisions. I thought that was love, but I would come to learn later that love lies in that discipline I despised. Love also lies in the obedience that lets discipline do its work. God disciplines his children because He loves them and wants all things to work for their good. His children will love him in return and honor his authority by submitting to that correction. This is one way by which we show that we have faith in his goodness and his intention for our lives. To love and trust God is to yield to his instruction and correction. It is nothing more than our sensible duty in response to God’s extension of love through training us to produce the fruit of righteousness.
If asked what it means to love God, I would say that we can sum it up in one word: submission. To love God means to yield to his ways, his decrees, his correction, and his instruction. Those who are his children will understand that their Father works in this way for their benefit. This does not mean that we never have questions regarding his discipline. What it means is that we obey despite our questions. It means that we seek understanding not for the purpose of avoiding correction but for the purpose of understanding its value and its work in us. The heart of the child of God cannot grow without yielding to his chastening. Father, train us up not only to submit to your discipline but to seek that correction in earnest for our good spiritual development.