Paul spoke in Hebrews 12 about the perfecting of our faith. He warned us to lay aside the weights of sin, so that we can run the Christian race. We run with our eyes fixed on Jesus, who is seated at the right hand of God. Paul’s encouragement is to endure, so that we don’t become weary. He stated that our endurance against sin, was not up to the point of shedding our blood. We are sons and daughters of the most high God. Paul’s exhortation is this; “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him” (Hebrews 12:5).
Parental discipline is to help children grow, to become valuable members of society. God disciplines us because he loves us as his dear children. Children feel safe from having discipline and clearly defined boundaries. A parent who fails to discipline their children, is setting them up for failure. “If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons” (Hebrews 12:8). God disciplines us because of his desire to keep us from perishing. Paul said that all discipline seemed painful at the time, however it later produces a fruit of righteousness.
Paul’s encouragement is to take heart and to lift our heads. We are told to strive for peace and holiness, which is a requirement to see God. “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled” (Hebrews 12:15). Paul also warned against sexual immorality and unholiness. He compared such behaviour to when Esau sold his birthright for a meal. In other words, we cannot trade long term gain for short term pleasure. Esau later sought after the blessing of his father, but lost his opportunity due to shortsightedness.
Don’t become offended when you are corrected. You have to examine where and who the correction is coming from. God will use family, friends and other people around you to point out weaknesses. Ministers and leaders will point out times when we may stray away from the truth. Pride and arrogance can stop us from heeding correction. Stubbornness and hard heartedness can lead to destruction. When someone offers correction, you have to examine whether they mean to harm you, or they wish to see you grow in Christ likeness. “An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy” (Proverbs 27:5-6).