the need for God’s discipline

After the faith passage in Hebrews we run up against an essential element in the equation. I say against, because what is said next can rub us the wrong way, even though actually we are being rubbed the right way so to speak, even from the love of a father, the Father, God.

Again this passage follows and is linked to the need to pay attention to witnesses who lived a life of faith, ending with the chief witness, Jesus himself. I quote it at length, because I am afraid I and many of us are not sensitive enough to hardship as possibly being from the loving hand of our Father. That indeed we need this discipline in love if we are to become people of faith.

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 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! 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. 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.

Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,”so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

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