Punishment or training?
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak on Hebrews Chapter 12 verses 3-13.
When I was added into the rotation, I had no idea what I would be speaking on, but someone did. That passage was a tough one for me to handle. You see, I was reminded of some of the things I had been through and that bothered me. I had not considered what had been happening in my life these past several years as anything like training.
The trials and problems that I considered “punishment and discipline “ were in actuality Him, leading me, teaching me, training me for what He wanted and I needed to be doing with my life.
As I read the passage I found myself struggling with verses 5b through 7.
My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly
or lose heart when you are reproved by him,
6 for the Lord disciplines the one he loves
and punishes every son he receives.
7 Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline ?
The biggest concern was verse 6b where it says, “and punishes every son he receives.” How am I going to stand before these people (or someone that I want to witness to) and tell them that If you accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior, you become “Sons or Daughters” of God and therefore, “you will be punished”?
As I said in my message, “Punishment and Discipline”, because of our culture changes, have very different meanings to us than they would have to the early Hebrews the author was writing to in Corinth.
Once I realized that, I defined them, using our interpretation of their meanings. That shed a new light on it to where I could put my head around it. Paraphrasing it:
My son do not take the Lord’s training us to obey rules, lightly or lose heart when you are reprimanded or censured by him,
6 for the Lord trains those he loves, to obey rules,
and imposes a penalty as retribution for an offense, on every son he receives.
7 Endure pain, distress, or hardship, as training, for God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not train to obey rules?
I feel this puts a better light on what the passage really means. God uses these things or allows these things that we are experiencing, to correct us, or to teach us something that we need, to be in a right relationship with Him or to share in His “Holiness”.
There are three specific times when God uses Discipline.
1. When we have done something that does not please Him
2. When we are about to do something that will not please Him, and
3. When He wants to teach us something.
God used my preparing my message to remind me that what I had experienced over the past several years was training for what He wanted me to be doing, not punishment.
What are you experiencing? Are you considering those experiences as punishment, or as God training or teaching you? Looking at it as training changed my focus. How about yours?