Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hebrews, Chapter 12

Discipline has long been a watchword of mine. It is my firm belief that many problems with society today come from a lack of discipline and self control. It is discipline that helps build and shape the faith that we discussed in chapter 11 yesterday. Discipline comes from enduring hardship and pain, but having the faith to see through it. Discipline is also a lesson that s learned and can be applied in later situations. It takes a strong amount of discipline in order to walk in faith at times, and that is what God asks of us.

"7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, 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 our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness." – Hebrews 12:7-10

I once again want to reference my earlier writings on the four spiritual disciplines. They come into play here because it is our way of communing and understanding what God is trying to tell us. These are set up for our own good so that we may learn. If you are not learning then you are dying, as it is important to continue learning throughout your life. A beautiful illustration of this comes from the care group that my father teaches as a lay pastor. He has men and women well into their 80's that he teaches, but they are still striving to learn even in their advanced age because they are practicing the spiritual discipline God has asked of them.

As we see in the verses above though, discipline also comes in the form of hardship. Some of the hardest lessons we learn in life are lessons resulting from being disciplined. Almost everyone knows that feeling of burning on the back of one's neck from getting in trouble for misbehaving at school. Sometimes it is not is much from the punishment we faced at school, but from what would happen once we got home and our parents found out. Did this punishment come out of some sadistic nature of someone that wanted to see us suffer? No! This form of discipline came out of love so that we might learn from our mistakes before they are repeated and the consequences became worse. Sometimes this is why we suffer hardships, because a loving God wants us to learn a specific lesson even if it is a simple one such as learning to walk in faith. Other times it is a consequence of our sin, because even forgiven sin has consequences. God can forgive me even if I go out and take another life, but there are still earthly consequences I must face as a result of those actions.

"14Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." – Hebrews 12-14-15

The second part of this chapter warns us against refusing God. I think a critical point made in this section is that if we don't receive God and strive to be holy we will deny the chance for someone else and in turn infect them away from God. Our lives are meant to be living sacrifices to the Lord. If we live a good life and boldly proclaim our faith Christ has promised that his seed will bear fruit (see the parable of the Sower in Mark 4, Matthew 13, or Luke 8). If we deny God then we are not living the life He wants for us. In turn we are influencing others around us helping them deny God as well. As we also see in the parable of the seeds it is not a guarantee that everyone we come in contact with will come to Christ. We must live our lives though like they will so that we have a purpose. My life has purpose if just one person comes to know Christ through me. From there the message spreads further and Christ's love grows to other people.


  1. In what ways have you seen the Lord disciplining you so that you may learn a certain point?
  2. What can we learn from the discipline of others?
  3. Why is it important that we live the message if some will turn away from it?

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