All of us face adversity in various forms and at different times. Life can be difficult. Life can oftentimes be downright painful. We must learn to trust God in the midst of the seasons of adversity if we are going to keep growing consistently. It is just as important to trust God as it is to obey Him. When we disobey God, we defy His authority and despise His holiness. But when we don’t trust God, we doubt His sovereignty and question His goodness.
It seems it can be more difficult to trust God than to obey Him. The moral will of God is rational and reasonable (i.e., “Thou shall” and “Thou shall not.”). Trusting God is worked out in an arena that has no boundaries. Proverbs 27:1, “We do not know what a day may bring forth.”
In order to trust God, we must always view our seasons of adversity and discipline through the eyes of faith. God in His love always wills what is best for us. In His wisdom, He always knows what is best. And in His sovereignty, He has the power to bring it about.
What do we do when spiritual growth requires discipline and adversity? We cannot grow without discipline. We cannot grow without facing adversity. Hebrews 12:5-11 teaches us that discipline is a gift of God’s grace to help us grow.
God’s discipline leads to holiness (Heb 12:5-7). God’s stated will for a Christian’s life is to make us more like Jesus. God’s approach is to prune our lives to promote growth. If we want God to work through us then it is required that God work in us. God desires to do something greater than we have imagined. He is preparing us for what He has prepared for us.
God’s discipline is never an act of His wrath but always of His grace. Jesus bore the full brunt of God’s wrath for our sins on the cross. We receive grace from the good and loving hand of our heavenly Father. We face adversity not because God is not good, but because God is holy and love us with a holy kind of love. Every expression of discipline has as its intended end for us to become more like Jesus. There is no such thing as pain without purpose in the life of a Christian. Every issue is a spiritual issue.
God’s discipline strengthens our faith (Heb 12:8-10). In verse 8 we see discipline as evidence of salvation. In verses 9-10 the writer makes a comparison and contrast. Our earthly parents do their best to discipline us, but God is perfect in His discipline. He never brings more discipline than is needed to accomplish His plan. Growing in grace will not happen when we choose to live by the works of the flesh. Psalm 46:10, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” In order to gain the most from God’s discipline, we must submit to His Lordship over our lives. Discipline will either distract our focus from Jesus or intensify our focus on Jesus. Discipline should be a catalyst for worship not an obstacle.
God’s discipline develops our character (Heb 12:11). Discipline is not pleasant, but it is necessary. At the time, discipline seems hard. Later on, it produces a harvest of righteousness. God’s discipline is for our good and his glory. Whatever brings Him the most glory is our greatest good.
Our only appropriate response to God is faith … to trust and obey, to take God at His Word and live like it.