January 21st, 2022 – Friday Afternoon
“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?” ~Hebrews 12:7
Have you ever had a temper tantrum? I cannot remember having a tantrum as a child (you would have to ask my parents or older siblings), but I think I have had them as an adult. Now, now, before you call me names and conjure up images of me throwing myself on the ground, kicking and screaming, let me explain. When I speak of temper tantrums, I am thinking more of what leads to them: I am referring to the unteachable and stubborn attitude that causes a child to rebel against the discipline of their parents. I have had an unteachable and stubborn attitude against my Father at times, I am sure. I don’t know that it has gone on for long periods of time, but I have certainly reacted wrongly to the prick of His Spirit in my heart at times – whether it was through someone else’s words or actions, through being confronted with His Word, or perhaps through some other means.
The really sad thing about the attitude that accompanies temper tantrums is that it is not only counter-productive and destructive, but it prohibits us from knowing, experiencing, and enjoying the benefits of the life that discipline produces in us. Spiritually speaking, that attitude of stubborn pride and unteachable rebellion alienates us from the Father who loves us, who cares for us, and who knows what we really need. Remember that it is not because He is mean-spirited or cruel that He disciplines us – no, it is because He is loving! We need discipline if we are going to enjoy the benefits of knowing Christ and living in step with His Spirit.
In this passage we are commanded and encouraged to endure so that we might be disciplined; we are to endure the afflictions and sufferings of this life so that His life might be cultivated and produced in us. If we do not endure, we will not become disciplined; if we are not disciplined, we will not be the blameless and harmless children of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (Philippians 2) that we have been created to be in Christ Jesus.
The second part of this passage is a wonderful reminder of Who it is that is disciplining us. Even though the rhetorical question is asked in reference to an earthly father, the parental subject of this passage is God – the Heavenly Father of those who have been reconciled to Him through the Lord Jesus Christ. His Fatherhood is perfect in every way; He never rebukes, punishes, or scourges in an unrighteous or unloving fashion and He always acts in love. We can rest in His love, even in the midst of a fierce and terrible affliction; He ALWAYS loves and He is ALWAYS good to those who trust in Him. Isn’t it amazing? We have the God of the universe as our loving and perfect Father! He loves us enough to discipline us and make us into His own reflection!
Beloved, let us resist Him no longer. When the pressure is on and the suffering is great, remember His faithful love and mercy to those who are pliable and patient to hear His rebuke. Endure whatever discipline comes along; it will be worth it and you will see His grace, mercy, and peace as you turn to Him. The end result will be a clearer picture of Him – both in Him and in us – and a deeper understanding of His love and Fatherhood.
Thank You, Father, that You discipline us as Your children! Help us to endure – for our own good and for Your glory!