Devotional Thought for Today
Hebrews 12:7-11 (NASB)
It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
I can recall during my second year of college my dad took it upon himself to cut me off financially. Through that point in my life my dad had taken care of me and made sure I always had what I needed. We were not financially well-off by any stretch of the imagination; however, my dad worked hard, saved and always found a way to make things work. My dad paid my expenses during my first year of college and made sure I had a little spending money. All he wanted me to do was work hard in school. However, that all changed after my first year ended. To make a long story short, my dad told me I was no longer a good investment and I was now on my own. He was no longer going to pay my tuition or cover my living expenses. He said I did not have to go to college if I didn’t want to and I was welcome to move back home. But if I wanted to stay in school and live on my own, I had to figure out how to make it work. I thought that was a very sudden and harsh thing to do, but to my dad my grades were not up to par and I was squandering his hard-earned money.
At the moment when this happened I panicked. I thought how my dad could do this to me? There was no grace period, no warning…just like that I was cut-off. Though his method was harsh, I realized much later in life that this was one of the greatest lessons my dad taught me. What I saw as cruelty from my dad was actually him loving me. He could have easily continued to pay for my tuition, and I could go on as I was. However, in reality I needed this life lesson. I needed to learn to stand on my own, be responsible for myself and trust that I would be able to handle the most difficult of situations. My father knew me best and knew that I needed to learn how to stand on my own. As his child he was loving me by taking away my safety net.
In yesterday’s quiet time I shared about our identity as God’s children. We see from today’s passage that as His children, He disciplines us. (vs. 7-8). Discipline can take many forms. Sometimes, it is corrective, it can be preventative, or it can be instructive. Whatever the form of discipline, we must see that, as His children, He will discipline us. It is because He truly loves us that He has to teach us the way. Have you ever seen a child who completely lacks discipline? It is not a pretty sight. The discipline from our Heavenly Father is not a punishment, but a demonstration of His love for us. Our earthly mothers and fathers discipline us. How could we believe that our Heavenly Father wouldn’t? In verse 10 we see the reason for the discipline. It is for our own good so we may share in His holiness.
We have to understand that God wants us to share in His holiness. The discipline we receive is training in order for us to incorporate His holiness into our lives. Discipline differs from punishment in that discipline stems from God’s love for us. Punishment is God acting as a judge but discipline is God acting as a loving father. As a loving father, He offers guidance through discipline in order that we are able to share in the glory to come.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for disciplining me so that I can improve in all areas of my life, particularly in the area of loving and trusting You. Remind me to respond appropriately, in humility and reflection, so that I can share in Your holiness. Amen,
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 3
Lunch Study Break
Read Proverbs 3:11-12: “My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord or loathe His reproof, 12 For whom the Lord loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.”
Questions to consider
- Why should we not reject God’s discipline?
- Who does God discipline?
- Recall a time that you believe you were disciplined by God. What was the lesson learned?
- God’s discipline is born out of His love for us. The corrective action is to allow us to join in His holiness. (see Heb. 12:10). To reject His discipline would be to reject His love for us as His children. It shows great wisdom to accept His discipline.
- God disciplines those whom He loves. As His children we will be disciplined. Not because He wants to punish us, but His love demands that He does.
- Personal response.
In what ways has God’s discipline shaped your life and your faith? Are you able to see that it is truly because of His love for you that He has to discipline you? Spend some time in prayer and thank God for His loving touch in your life.