By Brother Michel Lankford
The answer is unequivocally YES, absolutely! According to the Whole Testament of Scripture, the Bible is incredibly clear. If you are in Covenant relationship with Abba (יהוה YHWH) Almighty God; if He is truly your Heavenly Father, and you are truly His child, He will correct, chastise, and discipline you.
God Disciplines His Children Whom He Loves
(Job 5:17; Psalm 94:12; Psalm 119:67; Psalm 119:75; Proverbs 3:11–12; Hebrews 12:5–13; Revelation 3:19).
According to Scripture, it is a very frightening thing, IF you are NOT disciplined and corrected by God. If God doesn’t discipline and correct you, it is a sign that you are NOT truly His child at all, (See Hebrews 12:5-13). The implications don’t get more serious than that. On the other hand, if we truly are His children, we need to come to the point where we EXPECT to be disciplined, corrected, and chastised by (יהוה YHWH), our Heavenly Father. We should develop our relationship with YHWH, to where we expect, and we accept, and we digest His discipline as a normal part of our growing process as one of His Children. It should not come as any surprise at all.
Learning to Accept God’s Discipline
To Grow up, We Must First Grow down
It’s an interesting Kingdom dynamic but it is true. In order to grow up into a mature, healthy, and strong disciple of YHWH Almighty God and of Messiah, we must FIRST grow DOWN, before we can truly grow up. It’s unexpected but it’s true:
As It Is Written:
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:1–3 NKJV; c.f. Matthew 19:14; Mark 10:15; Luke 18:17).
So, we must be CONVERTED and transformed to become like little children before YHWH. In a way this makes complete sense, because little children is what we truly are compared to YHWH or Messiah. When we compare our maturity level to the absolute love and righteousness and maturity of YHWH and of Messiah, (1 John 4:7-8; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8; Deuteronomy 32:4); we are truly infants compared to YHWH’s and Messiah’s maturity level. Infants and little children is what we truly are when we compare the two.
What Children Have Which We All Need
Many people don’t think about it in this way but becoming like a little child before Abba-YHWH and letting Him re-raise us, is a matter of eternal life. It is a salvation issue. Messiah just said flat out, that unless we are converted and become as little children, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. It doesn’t get more straightforward than that. This conversion must take place, or we do not enter the Kingdom. Messiah went out of His way to make sure that people knew that children were welcome in His presence. He went so far as to say that the Kingdom of Heaven is made up of little children, (Matthew 19:14). So, for the thinking person, this begs the question, “What characteristics do little children have that are so impressive to YHWH and Messiah, that He made child likeness a requirement for entering the Kingdom?
Little Children Recognize Mom and Dad… Little children start hearing and recognizing their parents voice even from the womb. They easily recognize that mom and dad are the source for absolutely everything they need, and they don’t hesitate to cry out to that source when they feel any need whatsoever. When YHWH becomes our Heavenly Daddy, He wants us to recognize Him in the same fashion.
Little children KNOW that they are Needy… They know that they are dependent, and they’re not self-conscious about it. To them, being needy and dependent on mom and dad is not something to be ashamed of. It’s the way life is supposed to work. They are not ashamed that they need mom and dad for everything. That’s just how it is. They expect to be loved, to be cared for, and provided for as a matter of course. Likewise, we need to become that way with our Heavenly Father as well.
Little children are eager to please Mom and Dad… In a healthy relationship, little ones have an innate desire to make mom and dad happy with them. Putting a smile on the face of the one(s) who have loved you that much; doing something that makes them proud of you, feels like you have accomplished something fantastic, especially when you’re little.
The reverse reaction is equally strong. When the parents who love you that much are disappointed, upset or angry with you, or they need to discipline you for some misbehavior that you did, it can feel heartbreaking and even devastating, at least for a little while. We’ll talk about that more later. For now, suffice it to say that little children are generally naturally wired to want to please mom and dad. They deeply want mom and dad to be happy with them, and to think that they are great. Abba YHWH wants us to have the same desire to Please Him, just as little ones wish to please the parents who love them. Messiah’s driving passion was to please the Heavenly Father; to do His Will; to have His Father’s Approval, (Isaiah 56:1-7; Psalm 40:8; John 4:34; John 5:30; John 6:38; John 8:29). He lived that way to teach us how we should be by example. Now, just imagine if WE were that hungry all the time to put a smile on Abba YHWH’s Face?
Little children are innately more trusting… The first inclination of little children is to trust that what mom and dad say must be true. Healthy little children do not start off as skeptics. We start off as believers. With rare exception, most of us are familiar with the idea that we need to be careful how we talk to our children because they will take on the nature and the character of what you say about them. You don’t want to call your child stupid, because they will believe you, and start being more stupid than they otherwise might have been. It’s amazing, but whatever character nature and behavior you speak over or about them most frequently, they will usually pick up those attributes, to a greater or lesser degree. They will start acting more and more foolish and stupid. The same thing is true if you call them lazy, or call them creative, or inventive, or whatever their parents say over them. They will take on whatever character that they are called by their parents most frequently. Even some secular behavioral scientists are recognizing this pattern of reality. Why do we see this pattern so often? It’s simple. Way deep down inside, at the soul level, the child BELIEVES that mom and dad have told them the truth about who and what they are. They have believed mom and dad’s words so well, that they began exhibiting and living out those characteristics that mom and dad spoke about them. Abba YHWH wants us to become equally trusting of His Words to us. Sometimes that is not easy, because our ability to trust has been broken through repeated woundedness, abuse, incorrect teachings, and bad experiences, That is also why Jesus warns so severely against abusing children and breaking their ability to trust, (Matthew 18:5-6). However, that’s also partly where our learning to overcome falls into play.
Little children are hungry for guidance and instruction… Little children are hungry to learn. They are curious and they are eager to learn and find out what they do not know about almost everything. Little ones start out loving to learn new things. Unless it is been wounded or soured out of them somehow, their eagerness to learn and discover has almost no bounds. That’s why little ones go through that phase where they ask you 10,000 questions a day. They innately want to know what is good, and how do I get to be good? Again, that goes back to being able to make mom and dad happy and proud of them. Without good and clear instructions, little ones will often get confused, agitated, frustrated and even angry, because they become afraid that they’re going to miss out on something good.
Little children live in the moment… (Matthew 6:25-33) Some occurrence like being denied a wish or being denied access to a toy can feel like the burning of Atlanta, and they have a total meltdown, as if it is the end of their little world. However, five minutes later they might be giggling and grinning from ear-to-ear over some other occurrence. Little children who are loved are often very forgiving as well. They don’t usually hold grudges.
I give this example. Although I suffered through enormous and prolonged child abuse growing up, I did have a couple of really good, although way too temporary foster homes. I had one, “mom,” who adored me, and she lived it. She showed it to me every day. It was so impactful that I still remember her love and affection to this day, and I often feed off of it even now. Anyway, I have cerebral palsy and she was trying to help me with physical therapy procedures one day. She completely accidentally sprained my foot, because she pushed a little too hard. She felt horrible about it. Here’s the thing. I was easily able to forgive her and forget it, because I had had a history of being truly loved, cuddled, cared for, and made happier by her. So, I was able to more quickly forgive and overlook the fact that she hurt me that one time. That phenomenon has always amazed me, because I remember having a desperately opposite reaction to other people that hurt me. I had to work hard to forgive others, but forgiving her and forgetting her wrongs was relatively easy for me, even at age 5. It took me years to figure out why. I had no doubt that she loved me. I had no doubt that her intentions were always good toward me. I could never say the same thing about my other caregivers, and abusers, and that is what created the deeper traumas in my life.
Once we learn the truth that YHWH Almighty is perfect love, and that His Desire is always for our good, then it becomes easier, (but not always easy), to trust Him when we are going through painful events and circumstances that we don’t fully understand yet.
Little children are innately more persistent… Little ones don’t give up easily. The idea of the parable of the persistent widow seems to come as second nature to a little child, (Luke 18:1-8). They know how to pester till they are heard. Have you ever seen a little child who is determined to learn how to walk? It doesn’t seem to matter to them how often they land on the diaper, they keep reaching up for the furniture over and over again until they succeed. Overcoming comes naturally to a little child who is eager to learn. Unless there learning processes been soured out of them through too much trauma and negative experience, little children start out as passionate overcomers. They tend not to give up, but with some genuine encouragement, little ones tend to persevere until they succeed, because they are determined to learn and succeed. That is how we are supposed to be with YHWH, our Heavenly Father.
All of these dynamics working together inside of us help us to receive, accept, and digest God’s discipline into our lives. We don’t like being disciplined. It’s hard. It’s unpleasant. It’s difficult, and often painful. However, if our relationship with YHWH Almighty our Heavenly Father is truly solid and thriving, then we will make the choice to be receptive, to absorb, to tolerate and to digest the Heavenly Father’s Discipline, because deep inside we know we are little. We know that we need the discipline, and our desire to truly live out the dynamics listed above will outweigh our desire for immediate comfort and gratification,
As It Is Written:
“A fool despises his father’s instruction, But he who receives correction is prudent.(Proverbs 15:5 NKJV)
“He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, But he who heeds rebuke gets understanding.(Proverbs 15:32 NKJV)