About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

Home Page

Divine Discipline


Hebrews 12:5 through 7 says that we should not despise the Lord's discipline in our lives because as His sons, He does discipline us.  Furthermore, the text states that we should view hardships in our lives as a means by which God disciplines us.  If you are like me, you don't like hardships, but whether we like them or not, that's irrelevant.  They have a divine purpose.  How then should we understand divine discipline?


When experiencing hardship we sometimes ask; "What did I do wrong to deserve this?"  That isn't really the question we should ask.  The Greek noun "paideia" that is translated as "discipline" here doesn't necessarily mean punishment.  It means "instruction or training."  The verb form of this word means "to teach or to instruct."  The right question to ask is this.  "What am I to learn from this hardship so I can mature as a son or daughter of God?" 


Despite the claims of that which is called the "Prosperity Gospel," which I believe is one of the most damaging heresies inflicting the western church, the Bible does not teach that Christians are immune from suffering difficulties in their lives.  In fact this passage says the opposite.  If faith in Jesus is to save us from trials of life then the Apostle Paul, who I believe is the most effective Christian in history, was one messed up man.  Like everyone else, Christians suffer hardships.  Unlike everyone else, hardships are one means God uses to help accomplish His will in our lives. 


Discipline is not punishment.  It is instructive and often appears in our lives through hardships.  We don't have to like hardships, but we do have to embrace the maturing process they bring to our lives.  They will produce more of the life of Jesus in us, and isn't that what being a Christian is all about?     


Home Page