5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”
7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?
10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.
11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,
13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
It is very difficult to understand the chastening of the Lord. It is easy to rejoice in its theory. We can preach and teach about the Lord’s chastening right up to the point we begin to experience it. And then verse 11 comes into play. “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful…” All the air goes out of our balloons when God begins to chasten us. How does His chastening work in the lives of His sons, and why does He chasten us to begin with? Verse 10 says He chastens us that we might become partakers of His holiness. Partaking of His holiness is just another way of saying partaking of His nature. God’s purpose is to create His nature in us. God’s nature formed in us only comes about as the old, Adamic nature is broken. Claiming it broken does not make it so. We are to experience the transformation.
The Adamic nature’s stranglehold on us is broken through the pressures God brings upon our spirits. The Lord allows pressures to build until we reach an involuntary response. We can say “Lord, I love you, Lord, I submit to you,” all day long and mean it. But the truth is, we are only capable of meaning it to the extent that God has already dealt with us. When the pressures go beyond what we have known, they will elicit an involuntary response. God’s dealings will cause Adam to respond, often with anger or bitterness or frustration. We always feel guilty afterwards for such eruptions. But we should not feel as if we have failed. It was that involuntary response that God was looking for all along. It’s like a sign on the side of the highway saying “End of the Road.” That involuntary response marks the end of the “trail” that God has blazed in us. It is from this point that true and effective repentance can come forth leading to a practical manifestation of His nature. Repentance on this level does not deal so much with sins committed as it does the sin nature itself. As we repent and worship the Lord, His nature displaces Adam and we have a practical and real appropriation of His nature in us. The “end of the road” sign has effectively been moved forward.
We should never get hung up on our involuntary responses because they are not an end in themselves. God drives us into them to show us our lack. This process will continue to operate in our lives until there are no more involuntary responses in us other than brokenness and worship. This becomes the seal of His nature formed in us. Who can say they are fully there? Only the religious will dare to make such assumptions.
It is a deep work that God does in His sons. The methods that He uses are very real, thus the results are very real. We can rejoice in this truth.