Google+ 02/25/13 Enjoy the Painful Discipline!

Hebrews 12:9-11

 

Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us,

Shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?

For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how.

But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness.

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful!

But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. 

 

Most of us do not react well to the mention of the word "discipline."  In our society, this word comes with a very negative connotation.  Since we do not know who authored the book of Hebrews, we cannot really speculate as to the specific group of people for which this wonderful book was written.  What we do know, is that this book was written to the Hebrew people.  We know that during this time, Jewish Christians were persecuted and were in grave danger of reverting back to Judaism, which was sanctioned and protected by Roman law.  The Jewish Christian would have been weary of the fight and probably afraid.  Jewish traditions regarding families were strong and meaningful.  Even today, the Orthodox Jewish religion knows the significance of the male "rabbi" of the family.  Our Scripture references  the need for fathers to discipline their children.  The writer of Hebrews speaks clearly about the respect children should have for their earthly father.   We are then admonished to love our heavenly Father even more and submit to His discipline.  Like most "discipline," the kind that God gives us is completely necessary.  As we submit to God's loving hand, He teaches us how to be more like Him.  As a result, we get to share in His holiness.  Without this discipline, we simply cannot commune with God.  Remember, the word "holy" means to be set apart.  If God is set apart, we as Christians, must also be set apart in order to have an effective dialog with Him.  Notice that Hebrews points out that the act of inflicting discipline is never pleasant.  Actually it is painful!  Then, our Scripture points out the great news.  This discipline that God insists upon, when completed, brings us great peace.  Why?  The word "holiness" is the key.  The Bible is so clear with us that the world will never be peaceful.  If we are "of the world" instead of being "in the world," we can expect chaos all of the time.  Satan's primary occupation is to confuse and confound the world.  Only when we are set apart, or made holy, can we expect any kind of "peaceful harvest in right living."  Accept God's discipline gratefully.  If you are a parent, provide the same discipline for your children.  They need the peace of God in their lives, and you may be their only source of that in their younger years.  Remember that discipline, while it is happening, is almost always painful.  It is God's holiness that we are seeking, so any pain on our journey to being "set apart" is just "part of the deal."  As I have mentioned many times, Christianity is always a dichotomy when looked at through worldly eyes.  In that spirit, I leave you with this thought.  Enjoy the painful discipline!