Friday

“Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline? If you do not have that discipline in which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not his children.” (vv. 7-8)

Hebrews 12:4-24 Friday 6 November 2015

Psalm: Psalm 119:113-128


Background

These words sound harsh and uncompromising, but the people towhom they were written would know all about the absolute power thata Roman father had over his family from birth to death. Romanchildren never came of age as long as their father survived andRoman family discipline was so complete that children could berejected at birth, or even sold into slavery. With this knowledge,the people who read these words must have been shocked andconcerned about what the writer meant by them, until they saw thefollowing quotation from Proverbs 3:12, 'the Lord disciplines those whomhe loves, and chastises every child who he accepts".

The emphasis has shifted to the knowledge that, as children ofGod, these Christians would be disciplined by God for their owngood. Difficulties, hardship and suffering are all part of life.Enduring them and learning to cope can strengthen faith anddependence on God, and teaches lessons that can be used in God'swork and service to others.

There are some parents today who would be horrified at the ideaof using discipline on their children, usually because they havethe mistaken idea of discipline being identified with smacking, orbeating. Yet those children who are taught no discipline at alloften become self-centred and wilful, and many of them can havedifficulty in coping with relationships and dealing with moralissues.

So a parent who loves a child sets out sensible boundaries, sothat the child can learn to grow and live to love and care forothers. The child who loves their parent obeys the rules - most ofthe time - and learns through experience that those rules were setout for the benefit of the child and the whole community.

Then, if people obey God's code of conduct, that guidance helpsall to live in peace and harmony and to produce a fair and justsociety. Learning the discipline of Christian behaviour is all apart of growing as a child of God.


To Ponder

  • What is your attitude towards disciplining children? What doesit say to you about your relationship with God?
  • What is the discipline you have rebelled against most andwhy?
  • If you feel able, reflect on one of the more painfulexperiences of your life, and what it has taught you about yourselfand God.
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