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Chastening is something you feel as emotional anxiety or distress. What used to bring you joy now doesn’t. Pressures increase in your work, and home, in your health, or your finances. Many Christians bump along at this chastening level of discipline yet fail to read the signs. They feel unfulfilled at church. They feel critical of their Christian friends, and they feel “on the outs” with God. When they pick up their Bible, it feels like a lead weight instead of a welcome relief. Their relationship with the Lord is seemingly blighted by lethargy or sadness.
Chastening is when God removes from us the joy of our salvation. If any of these symptoms sound familiar, you don’t need to go to church more; you don’t need to read your Bible with a better attitude. You need to look for any ongoing sin in your life and repent.
But if we don’t, if we ignore His rebuke, if we grieve the Holy Spirit by refusing to respond to His chastening, then Jesus has to go to stage three. “And [He] scourges every son whom He receives.”
This is the same word used in the gospels for what the Romans did to Jesus before they nailed Him to the cross. It means to punish, to inflict excruciating pain.
Why does Jesus, our loving, compassionate Savior, do that to us? It’s not out of anger or frustration. He has a purpose, and a plan, and nothing is more important to Jesus than the health of His church.