Daily Thoughts from Hebrews: Loving Discipline

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“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? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:3-11, ESV)

Though the Hebrews had not experienced a level of persecution that included shedding of blood, it was enough persecution to make them think that perhaps it was God who was punishing them for putting their faith in the wrong thing.  You can imagine fellow Jews urging them to give up this Christianity and come back to the fold of Judaism so that they could get some relief.  But the author of Hebrews does not encourage this desertion at all.  Jesus suffered hostility from sinners and he did not grow weary or fainthearted.

Besides, God was not punishing them but disciplining them.  There is a huge difference.  Discipline only comes from a loving Father who seeks to shape the tender lives of His children.  If they weren’t being disciplined this way it would be evidence that the Father doesn’t love them, that indeed, they are not His children.

Now discipline is never pleasant but it always leads to pleasant ends when it is God’s discipline.  It leads to holiness and righteousness.  Let God’s discipline train and correct you.  Let it make you more than you ever would have been otherwise.  Respect it even if you can’t at the moment enjoy it.  It says, “God loves you.”

A father’s firmness should make it advisable for his children to obey; his wisdom should make it natural for his children to obey him; his love should make it a pleasure for his children to obey.

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