For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. -Hebrews 12:6
There is a tendency among Christians to view anything unpleasant that happens to them as the result of “spiritual warfare.” When a difficulty arises, many immediately ask God to remove their distress. The problem is that their predicament may have nothing to do with Satan or with spiritual warfare. It may appear far more glorious for us to explain our hardships as Satan’s determined attacks against us, rather than admitting that we are merely reaping what we have sown and are being disciplined by our heavenly Father (Gal. 6:7). What is often mistaken as Satan’s attack may actually be chastisement from our loving Father. If you have neglected your role as spiritual teacher to your children, God may allow them to fall into sin. If you have been dishonest at work, God may correct you by letting you face the consequences. It would be foolish to pray that God would ease your discomfort. God is disciplining you in order to gain your attention and bring necessary change to your life. How tragic never to make the connection between your problems and God’s discipline. God’s discipline will not help you if you dismiss it as Satan’s doing or spiritual warfare. Not every hardship is the chastisement of God, but Scripture indicates that God will discipline you. If you misunderstand God’s chastening, you may actually blame Him for not answering your prayers or failing to protect you from Satan. Meanwhile, God is warning you of the danger you face because of your sin. His nature is perfect love, and He corrects you because He has your ultimate good in His heart.