My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord… It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness.
According to The National Fatherhood Initiative, “there is a father absence crisis in America. 20 million children—more than 1 in 4—live without a father in the home. So what? Such kids are 4X more likely to end in poverty, 7X more likely to become pregnant as a teen, more likely to have behavioral problems, to abuse drugs and alcohol, more likely to commit crime and land in prison.
Kids by the millions sense they are illegitimate. Dad is absent, along with his discipline. It’s fundamentally disorienting, creating a gaping hole in one’s identity. Good dads understand that personal, thoughtful, character-shaping discipline is one of the most powerful expressions of fatherly-love. It demonstrates he cares, anchoring the heart. Good dads value sons and daughters. They prayerfully guide, challenge, correct, forge, and eventually launch into the world Christ-centered influencers. A developing young person longs for the presence of his/her father, hungers for his attentive discipline.
Hebrews 12 affirms all this for each of us who are in Christ, and more. Our earthly fathers’ discipline prepares us for the perfect, soul-forging shaping of our Heavenly Father. Our part is to “not lightly regard” the Lord’s discipline. Solomon’s Proverbs resound with urgent pleas for youth to both pursue wisdom as treasure, to receive instruction/ discipline with eagerness. Only fools rebelliously arch their backs.
Whatever your Father is doing these days to discipline your insides, welcome it. His presence is uniquely in what is happening with you, and He deeply loves you enough to share His life-sustaining Holiness with you, His Son, His daughter.