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. (Hebrews 12:11)
This is a verse that most of us will find it very easy to relate to. We remember being punished by our parents as children and knowing how we disliked it and felt the physical and/or emotional pain at the time. Yet, we realize that we learned and grew from the experience and that discipline is, in a very real way, a sign that someone cares very much about us and wants to make us become better people.
Discipline, not speaking of harsh corporal punishment but rather of learning self-discipline, is a good thing indeed. It helps us to be better people, better Christians, and better followers of Jesus. It helps us in school, college, the workplace, the family circle, the community and the larger world. Through discipline we learn restraint, control and techniques for handling our fears and anger. We are trained and we continue training and retraining ourselves each day that we interact with God and with other people.
The Book of Hebrews is anonymous. It is one of the books in the bible that we do not know the author of. It is probably not among the letters of Paul, and contemplating its source remains something of a mystery to biblical scholars and historians. Suffice it to say that the original readers knew who the writer was, but he remains unknown to us. We do know, however, that the author of Hebrews painted a majestic picture of Christ and commanded its content to the early church.
In Chapter 12, verses 1-29, the writer also found encouragement for endurance from Jesus’ example. Jesus had already run the race of faith, and God had placed Him on the throne. When Christians consider the hardship He faced, they can find strength and fresh courage. God allows all Christians to experience hardship so that they might develop boldness. Even though God’s chastisement seems hard for the time, it will eventually produce righteousness in those who follow Him.
The character of God provided another incentive for endurance. God desires that all persons seek after holiness. God will not tolerate a disobedient, self-serving lifestyle. The presence of God at Sinai caused thunder, lightning and fright among the people who saw Him. If God’s speaking on earth at Sinai produced fear, how much more would His words from heaven through Jesus produce fear?
The writer showed that God’s kingdom was unmovable. This gives Christians the grace to serve Him and stamina for reverence. May we appreciate that stamina and endurance every time we feel we are tempted to make a choice in our lives that is contrary to God’s holy will.
References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock, The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur and Concise Bible Commentary, David S. Dockery, General Editor.
Columbia Prayer Chain: Monday, January 28
In our prayers: Claudia Strattman, Jennifer Williams, Betty Jo Carson, Gary Davis, Eddie Bolton, Myrna, Esther, Pam James, Doug and Sharon, John Kelchner, Elizabeth Matthews, Nedrick Griffin, Jennifer Handy, Nancy Stuckey, Annemarie Sullivan, Rachel and Randy Wurtzbaugh, Patty Peckham, Denise Byrd, Greg and Lisa Steele, Dean Timothy Jones, Linda Langford, Marty Fritz, Harriet Hancock, Tommy and Robby Palmer, Patty and Ted Mac Laughlin, Janet Long, Bobby Wilson, Debbie and Pat Barry, Betty Jo Sullivan, Patrick and Patricia Barry, Jordan Hill, Doris Clevenger, Charles Sigel, Bob Davis, John Whatley, Nancy Zuckerman, Charles Davis Sr., Bill Carter, Betty Peavy Frick, Joye Cantrell, Fred and Gail, Dale and Norma Sessions, Padge Arrington, Jerry Callahan, Norman Masters
Special prayers for Mary Ellen’s four-year-old grandson, Joseph Patrick, who is fighting cancer
In memoriam: Bernice Horton Harkey, Sarah Matthews Ross, 1st Sgt. Carl Bryant Threatt Jr. (Ret.), Kathleen Marie Indihar Broome, Richard I. G. Hughes
Our prayers are with: the elderly, the homeless, all currently fighting illness, all beloved pets, our president and congress, our police officers and firefighters, all who serve in the armed forces
Columbia Prayer Chain is open to all residents of greater Columbia who would like to share prayers and receive the prayers of others. Please leave your name in the comment box below or email me to join our Prayer Chain. It is updated daily.