Today’s bible study today is Hebrews 12:11: No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
We have all been disciplined. Undoubtedly the first time we were aware of it was when we were small children and did something we were not supposed to do. Usually discipline came in the form of a punishment like being sent to our room, having the television turned off, going without dessert or getting ‘time out’ in a particular chair. And we didn’t like it. None of us likes being disciplined. Often we consider the words discipline and punishment to be synonymous, but they are not. Punishment is punitive, implying consequences for unacceptable behavior. Discipline, on the other hand, comes from the same root as disciple, a follower of Jesus. The disciples learned discipline through both the laws of the land and the teachings of Jesus. They neither disliked nor feared it. It was not punishment, but a means of teaching them the ways of the Lord.
Early on, we are taught to be self-disciplined, placing constraints upon ourselves and conforming to acceptable behavior without being reminded to do so. Most of us do learn to do this quite effectively. If we read and study the bible, are aware of the laws of the land and the mores of the culture within which we live, we are well on our way toward being self-disciplined. We know right from wrong, good from evil, justice from injustice, tolerance from intolerance, and generosity from selfishness. To help us in this process, we are endowed with a conscience. A cartoon by Jim Davis pictured Garfield asking his conscience what it looked like. His conscience replied, ‘I look like everybody’s mother.’ How true this is! The first influence on our learning of discipline is usually our mother. Throughout out lives, she often tries to keep us in line, walking the straight and narrow, staying out of trouble, and making her proud.
Now, substitute the word mother with God. God lives within our hearts and minds as a still, small voice that constantly whispers to us, reminding us what would be most acceptable for His disciples. When we are angry, God whispers peace. When we are selfish, He reminds us of those who have far less. When we feel we have been persecuted in some way, we not nudged to recall Jesus’ reaction of turning the other cheek and never answering hatred with hatred. May we always listen to that still, small voice that calls us to true discipleship and the discipline that Jesus practiced and taught.
References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock, The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur and Concise Bible Commentary, David S. Dockery, General Editor. You might also like to read:
- Broad Brook Bible Study Examiner, Grace Dooley
- Atlanta Christian Living Examiner, Taylor Powell
- Atlanta Bible Study Examiner, Donna Sundblad
- Kentucky Bible Study Examiner, Timothy Edwards
- Daily Bible Guide
- Growing in Christ
- Bible Study Tools Online
- The Jesus Walk Bible Study Series