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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him.’”—Hebrews 12:5 (NKJV)
When I was a kid, I thought my parents were too strict. For example, my sister and I were only allowed to listen to Christian music. That all changed the day we persuaded our mom to buy the New Kids on the Block Christmas album. Truth be told, it was all downhill from there. But I digress . . .
Even though my parents loosened the reins on music, every area of our lives was still held to a high biblical standard. Sometimes I looked at friends and wished my parents were like theirs. It looked like those kids were having so much fun doing whatever they wanted with no consequences. One day, feeling particularly jealous, I had a conversation with one of those friends.
“You are so lucky!” I whined. “Your parents don’t care what you do!” “Yeah,” she answered despondently. “They really don’t care.”
I sat there stunned and saddened. My envy turned to pity as my heart broke.
In Hebrews Chapter 12, the author compares the actions of our heavenly father to those of earthly parents. It assumes that we as parents will discipline our children and hold them to a godly standard because we love them. In doing so, we are not only providing a healthy and productive environment for our children, we are also pointing them to God. My parents’ biblical discipline enabled me to readily understand the very heart of God.
In Christian circles, we often sing about the refining fire of God, asking the Lord to make us more like Him. But then, when the heat gets turned up, we can often forget that we asked for it and question why the Lord isn’t saving us from our circumstances. We want to be holy . . . without the heat. We want to be devoted . . . without the discipline. So many raise their fist to God and ask, “How could You?”
Our Father God displays for us the perfect parenting style. This is not an authoritarian aristocracy, demanding perfection for the sake of appearances. It is a loving relationship with the rules and roles clearly defined to guide and protect with love as the ultimate motivator.
DIG: Think of some ways you struggle with the idea of discipline.
DISCOVER: Read the rest of Hebrews 12 to understand the peace that comes from discipline.
DISPLAY: Spend some time discussing what you’ve learned about discipline with a friend or journal about it.