10 Signs That God Is Punishing You
BIBLE TEXT: HEBREWS 12:5-11, PROVERBS 3:11-12, JOB 1-2
Can God punish His own children? Does He allow any form of punishment for His elects? These and many more questions come to mind whenever we see a Christian going through some experience that is not desirable. Most times, we quickly jump to the conclusion that the fellow is being punished by God. This was the same thing the friends of Job thought of him when he was being punished by Satan, with the permission of God. In this article, we will discuss what people usually perceive as punishment from God, how we should react to it and the benefits of allowing God’s discipline in our lives.
GOD’S DISCIPLINE VERSUS PUNISHMENT
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Can God punish His children? Yes, but the correct term is discipline. God disciplines His own children because He loves them. The Bible in Hebrews 12:6-7 says, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives. It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” The main reason why God disciplines us is to correct our mistakes, and bring us back to the right path. God does not want us to perish, He does not want us to tread on the path of destruction, and hence, He corrects us by way of discipline (or punishment, as the world calls it). Therefore, when God disciplines us, He does so because He loves us and not because of any hatred towards you. He wants you to correct your errors and consequently, improve on your character.
The major difference between God’s punishment and His discipline is that, while He disciplines believers, (i.e. Christians who backslide or go astray), He punishes the sinners (i.e. those who do not recognize God at all in their lives and conducts).
OUR REACTION TO GOD’S DISCIPLINE
Due to our unique nature, God disciplines us in various different ways. We are all unique in the way we are wired. As a result, God uses different methods in disciplining His erring children. The methods He uses for person A will be different from the one He will use for person B.
One of the ways to react to God’s discipline is by being positive and open minded. Do not always consider all that is happening to you as a punishment from God. Rather, seek the face of God through the help of the Holy Spirit to know why you are going through such a process and why He is allowing some things to happen to you.
Another way to react to the discipline (or punishment) of God is to better repent and ask forgiveness for your mistakes, especially when you have realized that the punishment is as a result of your sins.
Furthermore, it is required of you to humble yourself before the Lord and allow Him to transform your character (for that is one of the purposes of the discipline). If you do not give up, you will be thankful for its result in your life someday.
Our reaction in the times of difficult situations determines the outcome of the process. God needs us to stay positive, hold on to our faith and do not lose hope.
SIGNS THAT GOD IS PUNISHING YOU
There are certain things that happen in the life of a believer that shows that God is punishing, no, disciplining or chastising the fellow. No discipline is pleasurable, so we should expect some form of pain to accompany God’s discipline. Remember that gold shines brighter when it passes through fire; because fire is used to refine it. Same way God refines us in the fire of discipline. Another comparison is iron. Iron can only be molded when it is subjected to fire. Likewise, we are the iron and God is using the fire of chastisement to mold us into a better individual.
Watch out for these ten signs to know when God is punishing (i.e. disciplining) you.
- God takes away what makes us proud: As a child of God, the moment you allow anything to get into your head, be it achievement, wealth, position, etc, you begin to get proud. God takes away those things in order to get your attention and get you back on track. In such cases, you begin to see that a once wealthy or influential person has become poor or of no significance again. Such a person may start thinking that God is punishing him, but God is only using that as a form of discipline to him.
- Feeling of guilt: When you start feeling guilty for your past sins, it is a sure proof of God punishing you. Oftentimes, guilt is an emotion that comes from your actions and is often a sign that you need to change your behavior. It is one of the ways God uses to make you feel remorseful for your sins. The best way to respond to this feeling of guilt is to ask God for forgiveness.
- Separation from God: One of the ways God punish a person is by causing a separation or break in communication with such a fellow. Once you discover that you no longer feel the loving presence of God in your life, it is a good time to check yourself to see whether you are being punished by God. One thing that causes this type of separation is sin. Adam and Eve are examples.
- When you suffer from the consequence of what you did: Because God is merciful; He will forgive you of your mistakes and sins. However, He will ensure that justice is being served to you. You might be free from the guilt of your sins and past mistakes, but you will definitely suffer the consequences of your actions. Take for instance, a prostitute who had lived a reckless life in the past. When she repents of her sins and turn away from her life of waywardness, God will forgive her and give her a brand new life. However, if she had taken some dangerous drugs to terminate pregnancies, she may suffer the consequence of a damaged uterus. Do not feel bad when God allows you to suffer for your past mistakes. God is not cruel. However, He is a God of order, and He does not tolerate sins.
- Your sins are exposed: The Bible says that your sins will surely find you out. Even though God loves you, He will not tolerate sin in His children’s life. One way God punishes you is by exposing your sins, which might ultimately cost you some relationships or benefits. Have you ever tried to hide your sins or mistakes, but you still got exposed in the end? Instead of blaming God for the situation, you need to humbly accept your fault. It may be painful but thank the Lord because He delivered you from the prison of your horrible past.
- What you did backfire at you: Another sign of God’s punishment is when He returns the bad you did to harm others to you. In the secular world, it is called “Karma”. This means that what you did to cause harm to others comes back to you, most times in multiple fold. Instead of successfully hurting the one you hate, your plan backfires.
Yes, do not think that God does not love you anymore. He does, but He loves other people too. He does not practice favoritism. He does not take sides with evil and He will avenge those who others have wronged. That is why the Lord is never pleased when you try to harm others. He will cause you to pay for it.
- When God makes us lack: Most times, God makes us experience what lack is like so that we can appreciate Him better. He also makes us lack so that we can help others who are experiencing lack when we eventually experience abundance again. But oftentimes, we see this as a form of punishment from God. When He takes us through the period of lack, it is meant for us to appreciate His supplies in our lives; and not look down on the poor and destitute.
- The discipline causes you repentance: Is there any time that a negative experience has caused you to regret your wrong actions and rededicate yourself to God? If your answer is yes, then it is a sign that you have been punished by God for discipline. God wanted you to ponder on your wrongdoings and errors, so He allowed you to pass through trials and circumstances that would make you admit your mistakes.
Bear in mind that whenever God punishes you, it is to correct your wrong beliefs, mindset and actions. The ultimate goal is to discipline you. Therefore, He is happy whenever He sees you learning from the entire process. He only wants you to be a wiser and more mature believer.
- You change your behavior: Whatever makes you change your behavior for the better is a form of discipline from God. When being punished or disciplined by God, repentance comes from it. This ultimately leads to a positive change in behavior or transformation.
- You go back to zero point: One of the worst punishments a person can ever pass through is having to step down from one’s current level of success. It can be in any area—relationship, career, ministry, or influence. A single mistake can cost you everything, so you have to be mindful of your actions. If at your place of work, you are caught involved in fraudulent acts, you will surely lose your job. This is part of sin’s consequence, and God will have to permit you to go through it. However, if you repent of that wrong deed, God will help you get back on your feet again.