Hebrews 12:7 Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline? 8 If you do not have that discipline in which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not his children. 9 Moreover, we had human parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share his holiness. 11 Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
There will be difficulties for the life of the Christ-follower. There has never been a promise that things would be easy. These difficulties are to be seen as discipline. Every loving parent disciplines their children because if they do not, the children will never learn the boundaries within which to live their lives. Children without boundaries become a detriment to themselves and to society as a whole. It is through discipline that a child takes on the characteristics of the one who provides the discipline. The child’s behaviors begin to mimic those of the parent. For the disciple of Jesus Christ, it is through discipline that we take on the very character of God in Christ. That is, we become holy as he is holy. This happens because God, our Father, loves us and wants us to participate in his holy loving nature.
Today I’ve been hanging out with my daughter and son-in-law in Michigan. They happen to be parents to our only grandchild — Mackenzie, who is now 9 months old. Quite recently she has become extremely mobile and you have to keep an eye on her or before you know it, you will find her climbing on furniture, crawling into spaces where she’s not to be, or touching things she is not to touch. One of those spaces where she is not to be is the hearth of the fireplace. They’ve been teaching her that she is not to go off the carpet and touch the marble. Just this afternoon she was speeding across the room and made her way up to the marble. She stopped just short, lifted up her hand as if to touch, but first turned and looked at her daddy. At nine months of age she has already learned that some things are just not good for you and yet, she was testing her father. Just as she was ready to put her hand down where it should not be her daddy swooped in and picked her up, lovingly and gently telling her no. She got the message and didn’t return to that place.
My daughter and son-in-law are disciplining Mackenzie because they want the very best for her. She may not always appreciate the boundaries which they have already established for her life, but without those boundaries she would be in serious danger.
Our heavenly father loves us more than we can ever imagine and if we are going through difficult days and are feeling disciplined — thank him! He loves us and wants the very best for us — and that is to participate in his holiness. This is the very character of God and we are invited to participate in who he is. For us, it becomes transformational and provides us with hope while living in a very difficult world. Sometimes God’s work in our lives may seem painful, but the discipline comes out of sheer love and a desire for us to be his holy children.
Lord, please help me to be grateful for your discipline in my life. Amen.
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