Finding Joy in Discipline
For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Discipline can be a hard thing to accept. We want to always be right and we do not like admitting when we are wrong. Remember, as a child, when a parent, teacher, or any authoritative figure would discipline you? It always felt like injustice had been served. Later on, when we realized we were wrong, we experienced shame that was a result of the discipline. It was the shame that spoke to our hearts of what we had done wrong, more so than the disciplinary action itself. As a result of the discipline we received, we learned to respect those in authority. The fruit of the earthly discipline was we learned not to do things that would produce a negative result. With this in mind, how much sweeter are the fruits of discipline from our heavenly Father? How much more do we learn to respect, revere, and obey Him? The heavenly fruits of discipline are eternal in nature whereas the carnal fruits of discipline are good only for this life.
God knows that we struggle with sin. He cares enough for us, as His children, to discipline us when we do wrong. When the discipline comes, we tend to lose heart and turn away from God. These are times when we should be drawing closer to the Father, sharing our struggles with Him, and seeking a permanent solution from Him, not just a quick fix. We are often afraid to do so because we know that He will get to the root of the problem and we may not want the roots exposed. He knew your struggle before you did and He has the answer prepared. Just as our parents knew beforehand that we would try them and test their patience. Yet, when we did, they did not hold back the punishment that was due us. In that light, why would we expect our heavenly Father to look away and not respond when we do wrong?
Paul was trying to explain to the Hebrews that their hardships were a result of disobedience to God. He was encouraging them not to lose heart by thinking that God had rejected them, but to endure because God was treating them as true sons. He went on to tell them that if they did not undergo discipline from God when they fall short, then they were not His children.
This is my encouragement for you today: If you are undergoing hardship, then endure it with joy, knowing that you are a child of God and He cares for you. We all endure hardship, testing, and temptation. So did Jesus, our example for Christian living. He suffered to the point of shedding His blood. Our struggles have not led us to the point of paying the ultimate sacrifice, our lives. Keep your head up and your eyes on Jesus, enduring your training, knowing that it will soon produce fruits of righteousness and peace, getting you one step closer to holy perfection! God bless you!