Determined Woman Seeking to Remain Spiritually Strong

A daily devotion for June 14th

The Purpose of Punishment

And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

2 Corinthians 10:6

Paul is dealing here with the role of punishment in correcting the problems of the individual life as well as those of society. In effect what he is saying is, when you have bowed to the right of Jesus to be Lord over every area of your life, then I'll be ready to punish your disobedience! This is clearly an ironic statement. The Corinthians viewed him as being eager to punish them right now. But he is saying, No, it isn't that I want to punish you. I will if I must. But I prefer not to punish you. I want you to learn to obey on your own. When that obedience is complete, then you'll find me ready to apply whatever punishment may be necessary. But of course, when obedience is complete you do not need any punishment. That is what Paul is saying in an ironic way — it is easy to minister to a heart that is subject to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

The apostle is showing the utter inability of punishment to produce obedience. Notice he does not say, When I come, I'm going to punish you until you start obeying. It is quite the opposite. He says, When you have learned to obey, then I'll punish you. In other words, punishment does not produce obedience. After all, the obedience that God wants is not outward conformity; he wants obedience from the heart. That is what he wants. You cannot compel that kind of obedience.

What, then, is the place of punishment? Punishment makes people realize there is a problem, and therefore it has an important place. If your children will not take you seriously, you punish them. Why? Because you enjoy watching them writhe and squirm? No. You want them to face up to the fact that there is a serious problem which cannot be taken lightly. And that is also the place of punishment in the Christian life: it is to make us realize that certain things need to be taken seriously. God chastens us as a Father because he loves us, and he wants us to listen. When punishment makes you take things seriously, then the light has a chance to shine upon your life and show you what is wrong. Then if you will bring every thought into obedience to what he is saying and refuse to permit that which he does not approve, you will find that the healing of the Lord Jesus begins to spread throughout every area of your life: your family, your home, your relationships at work, at play, wherever you may be; and you become a healing entity in society.

Lord, make me a willing and obedient child, bowing to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, acknowledging his right to be Lord over every area of my life. Amen.

Life Application

In what areas might the Lord be chastening you? Is your heart obedience such that you are ready to listen?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Bringing Thoughts into Captivity

Listen to Ray