Hebrews 12:5-6 | Hana Mower
“And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.’”
Exhortation is “an address or communication emphatically urging someone to do something”, an encouragement. So the beginning phrase is basically ‘don’t forget of the encouragement where the Lord calls you His children, here is the evidence of Scripture to prove it…’
We shouldn’t think lightly of the discipline of the Lord, nor should we lose heart when we’re rebuked by Him. And probably when read that sentence you’ve already thought of many times the conviction in your life was taken lightly and how often you lost heart when trials came your way. Feelings of despair, loss of heart, and cowering away from hardships are natural flesh tendencies. ‘Flesh’ is the word standing out here. Those anxious feelings are part of the old self that died with Christ, the new has come. That does not mean we still won’t struggle with anxiety or depression, as if becoming a Christian ‘poofs’ all your problems away, it means we are new and now have a right standing with God, that we can go to Him so He can take our burdens and give us strength because ultimately this will conform us to the image of Christ. “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.” (Proverbs 18:10). All this is the reason for discipline; our sanctification, being cleansed, made holy, and purified because Christ is perfectly pure and holy. Any ‘preacher’ who says you are only facing trials because you have done something wrong or did not give enough money does not have a Biblical view of trials, verses 5-6 make it clear.
Discipline comes out of love, children are disciplined by parents because they know what’s good for their child, it will result in their success. Structure and consistency are vital for a child’s development. I will quote from H.A. Ironside’s commentary on this verse because he summarizes it well, “Every sorrow the children of God are permitted to endure is designed by God for blessing…. instruction by discipline. It is the divine method used for our education.” He then goes on to mention a few attitudes we can take towards the discipline, one is despising it, hardening yourself against God and refusing to learn what He is trying to teach. Which by the way is Biblical, you can go through a trial and not be trained by it (“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11). Another attitude is one who faints under the trials, the “shrinking timid souls who lose all courage when trouble comes.” I know I’ve found myself in both attitudes more times than I’d like to remember. But we must constantly call to mind, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28). The trials that come our way may not be good in and of themselves, but God uses them for our good. Could you imagine if there were hardships you experienced that went to waste and didn’t help you grow in your relationship with Christ? Although you might feel like some of them are wasteful now, that’s why 12:11 says later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Be patient and “Never focus on the situation, focus on God in the midst of the situation, and you will see yourself gradually transformed into the image of Christ.” -Thomas Blackaby. Praise God He doesn’t let any struggle go to waste!