I wish God used something other than chastening to get us to grow as Christians. I hate to say it, and I wish it wasn’t true, but there’s no other way to grow. One of my pastor friends chose to learn this the hard way.

When we were in Florida Bible College, this man told God, “Lord, I’m not sure You love me enough. I want more chastisement.”

He soon found out that wasn’t a very wise thing to pray. He got just what he asked for, and then some. But the chastening made him a better person.

Once we become Christians, God wants us to grow. He uses disciplinary correction, or chastening, to accomplish this growth. Our reaction to God’s correction is just as important as the correction itself. It reveals our character, while chastening refines our character.

Our reaction to chastening often falls into one of two extremes, which we see in today’s verse. We can either despise it, or we can faint under it. To despise chastening is to make no account of it, or to ignore the things God is trying to teach us from it. I would define fainting under correction as not preparing ourselves for God’s actions. The key to our spiritual growth lies in being open to the things God teaches us through chastening. By it, the mind is enlarged, the heart purified, and the life exalted.

God may be putting you through a time of chastening right now. You may be wondering why God is making you suffer. I’ve gone through this at times myself, but I learned God chastens us to make us better. He wants to make our good better, and our better best. He loves us that much.

In real love you want the other person’s good. In romantic love you want the other person. — Margaret Anderson

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder