Discipline for Holiness
Hebrews 12:10 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.
Earthly parents discipline their children because they want to raise them well. The purpose of healthy boundaries is to keep a child from becoming injured by their own actions or those of others. Most loving parents will discipline their children because they want to prepare them to live well. Without any discipline a child would die, for the ways of life would never be learned. However, a parent only has the opportunity to discipline a child until the child comes of age, or the parent is no longer a part of the child’s life. Then, the disciplining ends.
God’s desire for his children is holiness and because of this he disciplines us. This discipline establishes boundaries which keep us on the pathway that leads to participating in his holiness. This discipline never ends for we are invited to share in the holiness of an eternal God. This process of discipline will never end — always perfecting his children in holiness.
Jesus Christ, the holy son of God, came to earth so that we too might become like him. The Father disciplines his children — so that we too can receive God’s benefits and be holy.
I remember getting in trouble as a little girl. I think my mother was probably the parent who meted out the most discipline but that was because my father was often traveling. She would play the organ in church on Sundays and from her perch she could see all four of us, scattered with our adoptive grandmas across the congregation. We all knew that we were to behave in church and if we did not, we would be disciplined very quickly following the service. While this wasn’t the only time that we were disciplined, it was a reminder of how to behave in church. We also learned how to behave in many other instances of life because our parents loved us enough to teach us how to behave.
Most of us have spent time around children who have not been disciplined and it makes life difficult for all involved. I know young families who don’t feel that they can go out because their children won’t behave. The problem is that the parents have not chosen to teach their children how to behave. Unfortunately the children are the ones who will suffer in the long run because their behaviors will be deemed unacceptable by society. Is this truly a loving parent? A loving parent would be willing to put in the effort to discipline their children. Children who understand the boundaries and know how to behave will have a much greater chance of success in this world.
Holiness is not an optional plan for God’s children, it IS God’s desire for his children. If holiness is the very nature of God, then it is God’s desire that his children would reflect his holiness in all things. That means that his nature is to be our nature. As children, we are to be like the father.
Today is Ash Wednesday and we are beginning this Lenten season. The discipline of this season ought to lead us into the holiness of God. I’m not sure that any of us get too excited about discipline. We would like to believe that we can do everything right all the time — but that is simply not the case. That’s why, in love, our Father disciplines us, gently nudging us back onto the pathway so that we can participate in him, sharing in his holiness. Therefore let’s not grumble when we are being disciplined, but accept it, and continue following the Lord into his holiness.
Lord, thank you for your discipline. Amen.
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