Sunday 10 October, 2021

Hebrews 12:8-13

8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 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. 12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

My parents were big believers in discipline. They gave me and my brothers lots of boundaries and set expectations for our behaviour, with firm consequences if we crossed the line.  

In addition to this, both of my parents were tennis coaches, so there was also the expectation of the discipline of hard work and regular practice on the tennis court. This is a different form of discipline, which resulted in achievements through perseverance and practice. Discipline was always spoken of in a very positive light in my family.

Fortunately, my parents were big believers in showing love and care for their family, so the discipline we received was not perceived as harsh or unloving. In my mind, there was never a question that their discipline and the strong work ethic were there for my own good.

So, when the writer of Hebrews talks about God’s discipline as an expression of His love, this concept makes perfect sense to me because of my childhood experiences. 

However, I realise that not everyone has experienced loving discipline from their parents. It can be a big challenge to work through what the love of God looks like when our earthly parents have not demonstrated God’s unconditional love.

This topic is bigger than what can be addressed in this short blog, but understanding God’s all encompassing, unfailing love for us is crucial. When we come to know that God is for us 100 percent of the time, we can be sure that when challenges and discipline come our way that He is always on our side and can use this as part of our training, painful as it may seem at the time.

I encourage us all to face our challenges as opportunities for God to demonstrate His great love and care as He shapes us into His image. He is making us strong!

“So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong”

Written by Shelley Witt

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