April 18: Following and Discipline

Read Hebrews 12:1-13

Today, our focus is less about what is expected of you as a Christ-follower and more about what you should expect as a Christ-follower. And, as you have likely seen both in the text as well as in your life, one of those expectations is discipline.

Your relationship with God is here compared to that of a child and his/her father. While I don’t know what your relationship with your father was like, we all probably know what it should be like.

  • We understand that it should be characterized by love (v. 6).
  • We realize that such love will, at times, result in discipline for the child (v. 6).
  • We come to not only expect but also to respect that (v. 9).
  • We understand that an earthly father’s discipline is at times imperfect. Still, it is exercised as seems best to them (v. 10).
  • We know that the discipline of an earthly father is at times painful and unpleasant (v. 11).

The author’s point is that we should expect no less from our perfect heavenly Father. In fact, His discipline is better yet. God’s discipline includes, but is not solely expressed in a rod of correction. Yes, like a father who takes phone privileges from a child for abuse of the privilege, He will, at times, give us painful reminders for wrong actions taken. But His discipline can also be directive. Like a father who tells his child with a new driver’s license where to park downtown, He instructs us towards his will. His discipline can also be preventative. Like a father who abruptly grabs his child who is about to step out into the street with oncoming traffic, He uses influences in our lives to prevent us from making poor choices.

Keep in mind…

  • His discipline in our lives is rooted in loving. If our lives are void of it, there is reason for us to question whether we are truly one of His children (v. 8).
  • His discipline is perfect. Though it may be tempting to question His work in our lives, resist that temptation. He is a perfect Father.
  • His discipline is purposeful. It isn’t some kind of arbitrary response. It is part of how God helps us in our struggle against sin. It is strategically designed “for our good…that we may share in His holiness” (v. 10).

Bottom line…as a Christ-follower, expect divine discipline and embrace it as the loving, perfect, and purposeful work of your Father in your life.

sbk

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