4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Discipline isn’t a word that we look forward to hearing. I, for one, dread that word because it’s usually followed by spanking, suspension, or anything that you don’t want to have.
We often relate discipline to punishment. Thus, we also see discipline as just that. But, is that all discipline is meant to be? Let’s look at this passage closely.
In this passage, Paul talks about discipline. These are my reflections on his teaching.
- Discipline is a sign of love. I understand this just because I am the same with my “children.” I’m not against people who stand by the “I-am-what-I-am-so-if-you-love-me-accept-me-and-don’t-try-to-change-me” concept, but I’m not one of them. I firmly believe that loving someone means believing that they can be better than they currently are. God is the same with us. He cares about us so much that He wants us to be better. I know a number of people who turned rebellious against their parents because the didn’t care whether they did right or wrong. It’s better to be disciplined and know that you’re loved than have all the power to self-destruct without anyone trying to stop you.
- Discipline is a sign of holiness. God is a holy God. That’s why it’s but natural that being around Him requires us to be holy too. Being set apart and unique is one of the characteristics that personify holiness. When God disciplines us, He molds us into a different person than we were before. That kind of change HAS to hurt. It requires letting go of things that are not holy and those habits are usually fun. In our pursuit of holiness, something’s gotta give. That’s why embracing God’s discipline requires sacrifice. But if you think about it, trimming down a few things that were never really good for you to start with is still an awesome tradeoff to having the God of the universe to back you up all the time. Being around Him, His glory and His love, is a much more beautiful thing. Add God’s favor to the equation and who’s there to disagree?
- Discipline is a sign of righteousness. Verse 11 states the obvious. No discipline feels good when you go through them. I recall having a terrible black hole in my tummy whenever I hear my father say that I need to be disciplined for something I did. My heart would race, beads of sweat would form on my forehead, and I would have to fight the strong impulse to run away. But Paul says that despite the necessity of pain in the process, there is a promise of righteousness and peace to come. That is something to look forward to.
So, when undergoing God’s discipline know that…
YOU ARE LOVED.
YOU’RE ON THE ROAD TO HOLINESS.
YOU CAN EXPECT FUTURE RIGHTEOUSNESS.
IT’S GOING TO HURT, BUT IT’S ALL WORTH IT.
And that’s my two cents on that.