HEBREWS 12:6-7: “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he punishes every son he accepts. What you endure disciplines you: God is treating you as sons. Is there a son whom his father does not discipline?” (ISV)
OBSERVATION: No one likes discipline – but everyone needs it! God’s discipline is often misunderstood. Many have the concept of a God who is just waiting for us to make a mistake so that He can lower the boom! This is not what discipline is in the Biblical sense. There is a distinct difference between discipline and judgment.
Judgment is the result of sin – without a Savior. If we resist the grace of God throughout our life, and never embrace Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will meet judgment. Yet, Jesus did not come to judge the world. Jesus came to save it!
- “Jesus said in a loud voice, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in him who sent me. Whoever sees me sees also him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. If anyone hears my message and does not obey it, I will not judge him. I came, not to judge the world, but to save it. Those who reject me and do not accept my message have one who will judge them. The words I have spoken will be their judge on the last day!” (John 12:44-48 GNB)
So then – what is discipline? Discipline is to be trained in righteousness through the things that we suffer and are called to endure. The writer of Hebrews in these verses says,
- “What you endure disciplines you: God is treating you as sons. Is there a son whom his father does not discipline?”
The emphasis is not on what we have done wrong. The emphasis is on what we endure. Jesus Christ was without sin, and yet He learned righteousness by the things that He suffered. And in this same chapter in Hebrews we read:
- “…Let us keep running with endurance the race set before us, fixing our attention on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of the faith, who, in view of the joy set before him, endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2, ISV)
Jesus did not endure the cross because He was being punished. He endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him! He endured the cross for our salvation and to fulfill the Father’s calling in His life. And what was the result of Jesus’ endurance?
- “…(He) sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Some may object – “Why doesn’t God just protect us from all hardship and suffering?” This is a good question. It takes real honesty to answer it. Unlike Jesus, we are not without sin. Even though we are fully pardoned and declared to be sons and daughters of God, we still battle with an old sin nature. We have blind spots, stubbornness, unforgiveness, and the list could go on and on. We are working out our own salvation with fear and trembling. It takes hardship to bring these things to the surface so that we can surrender them to the Lord and be healed. The writer of Hebrews exhorts us,
- “Furthermore, we had earthly fathers who disciplined us, and we respected them for it. We should submit even more to the Father of our spirits and live, shouldn’t we? For a short time they disciplined us as they thought best, but God does it for our good, so that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, for those who have been trained by it, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace.” (Hebrews 12:9-11, ISV)
Notice God’s purpose in our discipline. It is not to bring enjoyment in our lives – it is to bring a lasting and eternal harvest of righteousness and peace. Have you ever seen an out of control toddler in a store whose parents fail to discipline? It is not only unpleasant for the parents, but for all those around. And if this toddler is not disciplined, if they do not learn respect for authority, they will grow up to be adults that spread their brokenness to all those around. God loves us too much to allow us to walk in our brokenness. His desire is to heal us, and discipline is one of the key ways he reveals our need for healing – and extends His grace to our lives!
Ultimately – the goal of discipline is not to bring a trickle – but an overflowing harvest of righteousness and peace in our lives – FOR ETERNITY!
Lord, thank You that You love me enough to discipline me. Thank You that You will not leave me to wander in my brokenness, but are always leading me to the pathway of righteousness and healing. Grant me the grace to endure the discipline of Your loving hand – so that I may walk in the abundance of Your righteousness and peace!
In Jesus Name!