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PGA Chaplain Bible Studies

Weekly Bible Study - Study 47 Hebrews Chapter 12:7-13
- The value of discipline!

 “Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as his children; for what child is there a parent does not discipline? If you do not have that discipline in which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not his children. Moreover we had parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as best seemed to them, but he disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share his holiness. Now discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews Ch 12: verses 7 to 11)(New International Version)

The value of discipline!

Like our reading this week, I am sure that most of us can remember being disciplined by our parents. I recall one day when I was climbing a tree as a young boy, I hit a girl and hurt her because she was trying to pull me out of the tree. When my father found out about this I got belted, because I was told you never hit a girl. It was hard at the time to accept, though I appreciate though how my father taught me to always respect and not physically hurt women.

Discipline is something none of us like, but in our reading is a similar kind of discipline, one that God uses. We are used to seeing discipline as a punishment for doing something wrong. But in our reading discipline is used in a much broader way to include suffering for our faith and hardships in general. So it is necessary to broaden our thinking on discipline if we are to appreciate what our writer is speaking of.
The reason God gives us trials and disciplines us is to make us better people. This discipline has the goal of righteous living and sharing in the holiness of God. We are far from being like God, however hardships and suffering can help us draw close to God, help us grow and appreciate what we have.

With Jesus we can see how this worked itself out. We know and believe that he suffered for our sins. However in addition to this, his suffering was a form of testing to see if he would give in to temptation. He went through suffering to death and being raised from the dead and now has a position of honour. It is this concept of being tested, persevering and growing through hard times that produce in us the qualities of character, endurance, righteous living and holiness.

While it is true for some that for some hardships draw them away from their concept of God, it is a crucified Jesus that we follow. God has embraced suffering in the way of salvation and so too must we. Paul expressed the same thoughts of his hopes of sharing in the sufferings of Christ that he too may share in the resurrection.

While I am not suggesting we should face hardships and suffering with a smile on our face, we can quietly realise that God is with us helping us along the journey of life to be a more complete person. This experience and journey is called his discipline and comes from God’s great love for us. One of the great values of our sufferings and discipline also is how we are able to reach out to those who suffer. So rather than seeing our struggles as a negative, try to picture God using this to be a blessing to us and others.

Prayer. Heavenly Father, Thank you that your love is so strong that you don’t leave us in our struggles but you discipline us to make us better people and more like you. Amen.

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