Saturday, August 20, 2016

Necessary discipline

man pruning a plant
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Hebrews 12:5-29

TO CHEW ON: "Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11

Do you have regrets about the way you have or are raising your children? In a novel I'm reading, the main character reviews how she and her husband brought up their son, now gone from home. She remembers her husband's impatience when he tried to teach his son the trumpet, her swooping in to help him out when he was in trouble, their visible coldness toward him when he flubbed a music recital. Her descriptions brought back scenes from the days when our children were young—along with some regrets of my own.

Discipline—doling it out, getting it—is never easy, or at least it isn't for me. We can tend to discipline our youngsters when we're in the throes of emotion and be over-harsh and irrational. Or perhaps we hate confrontation and avoid disciplining, only to later reap the fruit of an out-of-control child.

In our Hebrews reading the writer talks about the ways God disciplines us. Several words illustrate the range His discipline takes.
  • He chastens (paideia) us  as in the rearing and training of a child (vs. 5, 7, 8, 11).
  • He rebukes (elencho ) as in giving us verbal reproof (vs. 5).
  • He corrects (paideutes) us as a teacher disciplines (vs. 9).
  • He trains, instructs and punishes us (paideuo) (vs. 7).
  • And He scourges (mastigos) us—disciplining us physically (vs. 6).

Just like children left on their own can yield a harvest of bad fruit, so will we if left untrained and undisciplined.  So let's learn to recognize and welcome God's discipline of us, and model it as we train our children, both natural and spiritual.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to recognize and welcome Your discipline. May I be a teachable child. Amen.


The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.

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