In this section of Hebrews we learn two truths that are worth meditating upon. First, as children of God we should expect to receive His discipline, or in the Greek, His paideia. Paideia is the loving education and formation that children receive through correction and instruction. Paideia is difficult because it presupposes that we have made mistakes and are thus subject to the painful process of reforming bad habits or overcoming sins. The Father loves us so much that he takes us to the woodshed in order to continually kill the flesh. Yes, the discipline of the Lord is painful while in process, but this brings us to the second point worth reflecting upon. God disciplines us in order that we may share in His holiness.
God is cultivating His divine nature within you, forming you into the image of the Son of God, and radiating His glory and perfection through your life. This moral quality of goodness manifests in a kind of transcendent living where we constantly die to the old nature and walk in newness of life. This holiness is not intrinsic but is given to us from God and “without which no one will see the Lord.” (Heb 12:14b)
My encouragement for you today is not to shy away from how the Lord might be cultivating His nature within you. Nothing pleases the Father more than the brilliance of the perfection and love of the Son, and the Spirit is at work within you to cultivate these same attributes. The purifying and sanctifying fire of discipline is meant to drive you close to the Fathers heart, produce His holiness within you, and is meant for good “to those who have been trained by it.” (Heb 12:11)
It’s easy to grow bitter at the chisel God uses, the pruning hooks He has chosen, or the grinding wheel He deploys. But, such discipline is evidence of the Father’s love and intimacy in your life. “Therefore, lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees.” (Heb 12:12) Fully receive all that God brings to you and however God chooses to form you, since He has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb 13:5b)
Pastor John Woolard