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Monday, November 11, 2013

Punishment or Discipline (Study)

Hebrews 12:1-12, Hebrews 12:7, discipline in the life of a Christian
When I was thirty-five, my immune system collapsed and I spent three years struggling with full-time flu-like symptoms. 

During that time, I memorized Hebrews 12:1-12

Verse seven says, "Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?" 

Some of our difficulties are consequences of sin, so I started by asking God if my problems were sin-related (1 Corinthians 11:27-32).

When God didn't reveal that my problems were punishment for sin, I realized discipline isn't always punishment. Sometimes it's training. That's why we call prayer a "spiritual discipline." 

And suffering is obviously a good form of discipline if our loving Father uses it for His children. 

Quadriplegic Joni Eareckson Tada encourages us to cooperate with God's discipline, drawing closer to Him and seeking His purposes instead of pulling away and fighting them. 

Does discipline typically draw you closer to the Lord or pull you away? 
source: A Place of Healing, Joni Eareckson Tada

Bible Study

Hebrews 12:1-12 is rich with meaning and well worth studying and memorizing.

♥ Underline or write down the two things to avoid in verse 3. Have you ever experienced these? How do these verses tell us to avoid them?

Hebrews 12:1-3: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 

♥ Note the three different words used for discipline in verses 5 & 6 below.  ♥ How do you think we "make light" of the Lord's discipline?  ♥ How do verses 2-3 (above) and 6-8 (below) give us encouragement and strength?

Hebrews 12:4-8: In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.

Do you think our view of our parents affects our view of God?  See Underestimated Command. ♥ What benefits of discipline are mentioned in the verses below? 

Hebrews 12:9-11 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 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. 

Verse 13 below is a quote from Proverbs 4:26: "Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways."  ♥ Does the Proverb help clarify the meaning of verse 13?

Hebrews 12:12: Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13“Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. 
copyright 2013, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted 

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