After reading Hebrews 12:3-17 this morning I’m convinced that most of us completely misunderstand what the Bible calls “the Lord’s discipline!”
Default, we tend to think of it only as punishment for something wrong – some sin we have committed! That is a very limiting and one-sided understanding of the phrase! In fact, it ends up distorting the Biblical understanding of the phrase!
From a Biblical perspective, “the Lord’s discipline” would be anything the Lord allows to come our way to develop us, to strengthen us, to foster holiness in our lives, make us more like Jesus, and prepare us for heaven! You could call it “character development” or “divine discipleship.” It’s akin to the training a world-class athlete goes through to win in competition – the hours of training to produce the excellence of symphonic master – the mentoring and coaching an artisan experiences on his/her way to create a masterpiece. It can be unpleasant at times – incredibly challenging – but it is necessary, even essential. God’s word declares that it is motivated by our Heavenly Father’s love, not His anger!
Here’s the passage to describes and defines it…
“Have you forgotten the exhortation where God 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. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.”
So my prayer today… Heavenly Father help me align my understanding of Your “discipline” so it matches your heart and purposes for my life! You’re more interested in my “holiness” and character development than anything else! You’re working with me now to make me more effective and Christlike and to prepare me for heaven in the future. Help me understand that everything – yes EVERYTHING – that you allow to come my way is a part of your loving plan to help me achieve these things! May my words mirror those of your “beloved Son”… “Not my will, but thine be done!”