October 20, 2016

A Disciplined Harvest

Hebrews 12:1-13

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.

—  Hebrews 12:11

He sat in a wheelchair, his life suddenly changed in alarming ways. “Why do I have to go through this?” he asked, dis­appointment hanging in the air.

Sometimes we think of such situations as punishment. We even look for connections between life’s disappointments and our sins. But struggles like this do not usually relate to punishment; they are just part of life in a broken world.

Dealing with them can involve discipline, however. And discipline, though it can be painful, will yield results.

It takes discipline to get up early and work all day to bring in a harvest. It takes discipline to work methodically down a row of trees to pick the good fruit and leave the bad behind when a deadline is looming.

Discipline combines instruction and warning. The word for “discipline” in Hebrews 12 suggests the kind of training needed to help a child grow. The words discipline and disciple share a common root. Sometimes discipleship as God’s children involves difficulty and correction too.

God’s goal is to make us like Christ, who suffered but also triumphed over sin and disappointment. Even in discipline, God loves his people and seeks to cultivate holiness in us for Jesus’ sake.

Father, help us to endure hardship—and discipline, when needed—knowing that you love us. Thank you for Jesus’ example, and make us more like him. In his name, Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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