3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.
When I was a young believer, in my late teens, I was hearing about and seeing many people and friends going into the ministry. I began asking, “Are they asked by those in authority, ‘When were you broken?'”
My reasoning was and is simple: we are born with a sinful nature (Romans 1-3). Just like a wild stallion or donkey, we want to do our own thing and not listen to anyone else!
To get these animals to learn, we have to discipline them, break their stubborn spirit (to a point, at least). A horse may need a quick whip or kick to learn to follow our commands to move or turn. A donkey needs a bridle to learn to follow us and eat everything in front of it.
Learning from God
However, God treats us the same way we treat these wild animals.
Just like these great animals a fool keeps going back to the same bad behavior, until he understands the consequences. Whether those consequences come through danger, pain, or incarceration.
To help us get control over our sinful nature, God disciplines us (see Deuteronomy 8, specifically verse 5; Proverbs 3:12; and Hebrews 12).
We want to go our own way, so He has to guide us with limitations. We want to stay where it is comfortable, so He has to kick us into gear. We want to consume so many things that are not good for us (and in abundance!), so He has to remove the possibility of our consuming. Sometimes, He keeps us right where we are to teach us to be content.
He would like us to choose for ourselves, and His directions and discipline help to get us there. They frequently hurt and are uncomfortable, but it is to break our stubborn spirit to get us to listen to Him.
It is because He loves us and wants us to stand with Him in love.
Accept your circumstances as opportunities from God to grow closer to Him, to become more Christ-like.
Heavenly Father, thank You for your discipline and love. Help us to see these opportunities to grow, to learn from them, and to become more like our Lord Jesus Christ!