Hebrews 12

I think there are very few people who would say that they enjoy it when they are disciplined. I remember being disciplined as a child and it was not fun. That is because being disciplined is uncomfortable and it hurts. Even though it is an uncomfortable thing, we see in this chapter how good it can be through the eyes of God. Here are three things that discipline does.

It helps us to lay aside every weight and sin to endure the race (v.1-2)

If you put two identical people on a running track but put a 50lb weighted vest on one of them, which one do you think would be able to run more laps? The one without the weighted vest would run more laps because there is less weight they need to carry around. This is like what the writer of Hebrews is telling us, there are sins and other distractions in our lives that are like having a 50lb vest on while we try to run the race of Christianity. We will get tired after a few seconds. That is because we are trying to run a race with something that is not intended to be on us when we run, which causes a lack of endurance. What God does, when he disciplines us, is that he removes those sins and weights that keep us from running a marathon. Notice that the writer does not just say sins but “weight” which is anything that may not be sinful but still distracting enough to keep your eyes off Christ. Sin is a serious thing, and it hinders us from running with endurance to the end, discipline removes that weight.

It produces the peaceful fruit of righteousness (v.11)

When we are disciplined by God, ultimately what happens is that it purges us through and through. The discipline that comes from God is meant for us to grow in righteousness and holiness. Discipline does not save us, but it sanctifies us. Have you ever thought about why it's called the “Peaceful” fruit of righteousness? It is because when we are disciplined it helps us to take on the peaceful nature of Christ. Christ is humble, tender, gentle, kind, and when we are disciplined, it helps us to have those peaceful virtues of righteousness because that is what is found in Christ. When we are disciplined we are conformed into the image of Christ looking more and more like our savior. Discipline is able to do this because the Lord knows exactly what our hearts desire and love, therefore he knows exactly what discipline to enforce to cut down those roots in our hearts.

It shows that God loves us (v.6-7)

Even though discipline is uncomfortable and hurtful, the point of God’s discipline is never to punish us or cause us pain just because. God already punished Christ on the cross for our sins, he will not do it again. Discipline is meant to display God’s fatherly love to those who he has saved. I know that when discipline comes it is so unpleasant but when you see what’s behind it, it can give a lot of joy. God is holy and just, and even though Christ paid for my sins, God still requires us to grow in holiness. So when we are in sin, if we are truly children of God, he will not let us just linger around in it. God will be intentional in swiftly removing that sin, but he will do so with grace and mercy. I think it is such a paradox that God can keep us together during suffering and discipline while also breaking us into a thousand pieces. Discipline breaks us, it humbles us, but we also see the true and genuine love God has for us in that he will not let us be in sin that keeps us from him. Sin separates us from God, but that is why he disciplines us, so that we can take off that weight and sin that will let us run full force into his presence through Christ. That is love beyond words can describe.