The Mountains of Discipline

What are the first words that come to your mind when you hear the word discipline? Strict? Harsh? Angry? In our world today, many equate discipline with hate, unjust authority, people who are uptight, or people who are judgmental.

Have you ever seen a beautiful mountain range? When I traveled to Colorado for the first time, the Rocky Mountains blew me away. I was in awe. When I was miles away the mountains looked unreal, yet the closer I traveled to the mountains, the more intricate and gorgeous they appeared.

This is precisely how discipline is. From afar, it looks great, but maybe too difficult to understand, desire, or approach, thus you walk away from it not experiencing its full effect. However vast discipline seems, when you begin to draw close and study its beauty, the more appreciation you have for it.

Therefore, instead of discipline being hateful, angry, and harsh, it becomes gracious, loving, and just.

Hebrews 12 gives clear evidence of the importance of God’s discipline. Chapter 12 begins by revealing that Jesus is the founder and perfecter of our faith. He is the founder because He endured the cross joyfully, and the perfector because He is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. He has defeated sin and death, beginning our faith, and He perfects our faith by His continued work inside the hearts of those who have faith in Him.

Furthermore, Hebrews 12 encourages us not to grow weary because of discipline but rather it should encourage us. We will struggle against sin, yet we are not to grow weary or be fainthearted in this fight. We must be encouraged by the Lord’s discipline because it helps us defeat sin!

How contrary to the world! Doesn’t our world hate discipline and accountability? Doesn’t it encourage autonomy and having no authority?

Why does the author of Hebrews encourage us not to grow weary because of the Lord’s discipline?

First, the writer encourages us by quoting from Proverbs 3:11 to prove that discipline is a great tool used by the Lord to give evidence of who His children are! If you receive discipline from God and are reproved by Him, be encouraged because it means He loves you!

One may wonder, well if God is love, why is He disciplining me? That is just the thing. God is love; therefore, He must discipline you. Since, “the wages of sin are death” (Romans 6:23), as Paul exclaims, would it be right for God to let His children continue in death without discipline? Would it be loving for God to leave us in our death rather than disciplining us to life? See, God desires that you have life in Christ, so when you choose to follow Christ, God will discipline you that you may have that life.

The author describes clearly that God’s discipline is given to demonstrate His Fatherly treatment towards His children. The writer then concludes rightly that those who do not receive God’s discipline are illegitimate children and not sons and daughters. There are many who do not receive the discipline of the Lord, and they choose to continue in their prideful rebellion against God.

Clearly, the discipline God brings His children grants them the assurance of their adoption as children of God.

Secondly, the author of Hebrews wants us to understand that discipline produces the fruit of righteousness. He continues by using the illustration of our earthly fathers. Do our parents not give us discipline? The difference between God the Father’s discipline and our earthly parents’ discipline is that our earthly parents discipline us according to what seems best to them. God disciplines us for our good that we may be holy as He is holy!

His discipline is not transactional, but transformational. He does not discipline us to only remind us of our sin and His holiness. He desires to take you from unholy to holy and righteous. God does not leave us in our unholy stench but disciplines us to make us holy.

The writer continues by stating, “all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but that later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” No one searches to be told they are wrong. There is a sting that comes with the discipline, but in the long run, it produces fruit of righteousness. It is a process of continued training. God will train you to have the fruit of righteousness. He will cause you to do what is right. The end goal is for us to be holy as God is holy. There is no other path to holiness outside the Lord’s discipline.

John 15 portrays a picture of Jesus as the vine and God the Father as the master gardener. When one is connected to Jesus Christ, the true Vine, He will cause them to produce fruits of many kinds. When we produce fruit, the Father prunes us so that we may produce more fruit! What a beautiful picture of discipline! God removes our unholy fruit and plants His righteousness within us. What a gracious picture of a loving Father.

Well, how should I respond to God’s discipline? When God disciplines His children, He desires the response of repentance. David is an awesome example of how to respond to God’s gracious discipline. He repented (Psalm 51). Surely, there were consequences he had to bear, yet God graciously forgives David because of his repentant heart.

Repentance is the act of changing your mind or turning from sin to God. When we repent, we take our gaze from our sin to the Son, seeking to live more righteously. This righteous living does not happen without the grace of God in Christ. Let the Gospel be the engine that keeps you on the tracks of righteousness and repentance.

Trust in the Lord for His discipline will guard and guide you to righteousness.