August 17, 2022
Thank you for praying for our prodigals and for revival.
Living in and under the loving care of our heavenly Father is the greatest privilege a person can experience. It is what God desires for you to enjoy!
The value of a good father is inestimable. I am thankful for a father who had positive qualities such as gentleness, consideration, consistency, and patience. While he was not perfect, I appreciate that these are characteristics he learned from God our Father.
In Hebrews 12, the writer speaks about God as our Father. He is the best and He always knows what is best for you. He takes this responsibility seriously and one of His top priorities is the discipline of His children.
Discipline in the Greek is “paideuō” meaning to train, to educate, to instruct, to teach, to punish, or to admonish. It is much broader in scope than just meaning to punish for wrongdoing.
Discipline can have a corrective tone. When a child disobeys a parent's command or strays in a direction that is unhealthy, loving discipline is required to bring the child back to a place of wholeness. Most of us have experienced this type of discipline and it is unpleasant, but does have positive results when done effectively and lovingly.
Sometimes discipline comes in the form of encouragement. “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” (Hebrews 12:5 ESV).
Throughout Scripture God addresses you as His child, and in doing so seeks to encourage and build you up in your most holy faith. You belong to a large family of faith with a true Father who cares.
These first century believers were suffering for their faith. They may have thought that their difficult life was some sort of punishment from God. It was definitely not. It was God leading them through some of the most valuable lessons of their life. This construct of discipline is educational.
Possibly, you are presently going through a time of great suffering and wondering why God is allowing it to happen. Perhaps you are being criticized for your stand with Christ. Possibly you are experiencing the rejection of someone because of your love for Christ. God is using these circumstances to train you into the person He wants you to be.
Discipline or training is a reminder that you are deeply loved by your heavenly Father. “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Hebrews 12:6 ESV).
As a child I could never understand what my mother meant when she told me that she was disciplining me because she loved me. What? Really? At that moment I could think of many ways for her to show love other than corporeal discipline!
Now as a parent, I have caught myself saying the same. The Message paraphrase is helpful here, “God is educating you; that's why you must never drop out. He's treating you as dear children. This trouble you're in isn't punishment; it's training” (Hebrews 12:7).
Discipline is a form of love. If God let us live in ease and allowed us everything we wanted, He would not be showing love. Only an irresponsible parent would leave a child to fend for himself or herself.
Discipline teaches that you are accepted by your Father as His child. An undisciplined child is an unloved child. God will not leave you to your own demise. He will gently and purposefully direct your pathway in a way that keeps you close to Himself.
Lastly, discipline is transformational. “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” (Hebrews 12:11-13 ESV).
Your Father is invested in your future. He is transforming you into someone more like Jesus. He is developing character within you and healing those areas that sin has broken.
While the process is never easy, the finished product is a beautiful replication of who God is!
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel