Scripture: Hebrews 12:1-15
Text: verses 5-6
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,”[b] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
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Discipline is often used to help us remember what is important. In ancient times, the children of a village would be beaten at the border of their people’s land so that they would remember their boundaries and never forget them. Knights, upon accepting the vows of their office, would be struck “so that [they would] remember it”. This is the purpose of discipline: God is attempting to teach us things through His discipline because He loves us.
Discipline is also different in different stages of life and for each person, and can also be God allowing us to experience the consequences of decisions that we choose to make outside of or against His leading.
Punishment, pain, and discipline can work for our good as they teach and enable us to become disciplines with a deeper, more meaningful relationship with God and Christ.
Under the new covenant, Christ is our example, and He was disciplined, obedient, and refined by God to the point of being willing to shed His own blood for the sake of humanity. We know that this was not easy for Jesus as He even asked God if it were possible for it to be done some other way (Luke 22:42). But God had spent a lifetime disciplining and refining His son to prepare Him for this task and Jesus submitted to God’s will and became the Savior of all.
When times are hard and we feel like God is punishing us, let’s look for the good, for the lesson, the discipleship in the midst of the discipline. What is God teaching us, what perhaps was He trying to keep us from that we ran headlong into? Let us look for the good of God as He grows us as His disciples.
– Ben Snyder