Hebrews 12:1-13 — God Disciplines His Children
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With Chapter 11 recently behind us, we understand there are many who have gone before us, “a great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1) speak to God’s majesty, his sovereignty and his great love for his people. Here’s the painful truth: “do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son” (Hebrews 12:5b-6 and Proverbs 3:11-12).
It’s important to remember this truth as well: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11). The phrase, “later on” has always been the source of tension for me…just how long is [later on]? It’s fine to discipline me, rebuke me as necessary, but for how long? During times of difficulty, it seems to take forever, but looking back, even in our lifetime, it seems like an instant of time. Zoë and I walk together most every morning, a great habit I encourage all couples to try and adopt (we started after the girls had grown). During these walks we often reminisce about difficult periods where it seemed God was silent, hard to find, but in retrospect, we came to understand the time of discipline. Did you ever learn to ride a bike? I remember those moments when I let go of the bike and watched my child fall in the grass. But I remember the moment when she began to fly down the street and ride effortlessly more than the period of learning to ride.
We often forget the process of learning. That’s good news and bad at the same time. It’s good to forget the pain, but it bad because when we feel pain we often forget that we’ve been there before. Each time God comes through for us, each and every time. Expect pain if you’re growing. If you’re not feeling the rod of discipline somewhere in your life, you’re probably not growing somewhere.
Lord, please discipline me! Rebuke me! Teach me to take joy in the present while I’m learning and growing. Give me greater challenges this year than last year. Make me work harder than ever before for your glory and for your kingdom here on earth.