Summary: We are part of God’s family and the character of God is being fashioned within us; his intent is for us to bear the “family resemblance.
JESUS THE BETTER WAY: JESUS ESTABLISHES A BETTER FAMILY
Big Idea: We are part of God’s family and the character of God is being fashioned within us; his intent is for us to bear the “family resemblance.”
• Reading from the Old Testament: Job 5:17-26
• Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 94:8-15
• Reading from the Gospels: Matthew 12:46-50
• Reading from the Epistles: 1 John 3:1-3
When I was a kid my dad used to drill into me the importance of a work ethic and the importance of finishing the task. He would always tell me things like, “Son, the job is not finished until the tools are cleaned and put away” and “Son, the job is not finished until the job is done correctly.” When I mowed the lawn (one of my youthful responsibilities) I could count on an inspection. It was not overbearing or rigid but there was a standard of expectation. If I “cut corners” my dad would make me return to the scene of the crime and do what I had neglected. If I did not clean the mower or put it away I was sent back out to “finish” the job. After a while (when he knew I knew the expectations) my failure to do the job correctly would come with some sort of a … “reminder.” I was taught that actions have consequences and rewards.
I must confess that I despised the standards and expectations and I despised the “reminders” when I failed to do a task properly. But, now I know these instructions were designed to instill character and life-skills. It worked too. To this day I hear my father’s instruction. To this day the job is not finished until it is done correctly and all the tools put are away.
I, in turn, drilled the same lessons into my son; and today I see the fruit of that in his life.
There is a Biblical term that describes my father’s pattern of instruction. It is “paideia.” Paideia means “to train” and has the core idea of education. The word includes the idea of reproving, admonishing, disciplining, and even chastening. It is intended to instill character and life-skills. It is at work all around us.
• A mother makes her child play the piano every day even though the child resists and finds the drills difficult or mundane.
• A coach makes his players run wind sprints and bleachers even after the players think they have done enough and cannot run any more.
• A drill instructor in boot camp repeatedly puts his men and women through gut wrenching, painful and even humiliating drills until one day they are more than capable of doing what they never thought possible and can proudly wear the label “Marine.”
• A teacher makes a student rewrite a paper or redo a project knowing the student has more to offer than he or she cared to provide.
These (and other such examples) illustrate paideia. There are similar passion, foresight and goal-based expectations present in our Heavenly Father. When God corrects it is paideia. When God expects high moral and ethical ethical standards it is because of paideia.
It might be worthwhile to keep that in mind as we read today’s text, Hebrews 12:3-13. Whenever you see the word “discipline” the word is “paideia.”
3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “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 those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?
8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.
9 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 our spirits and live!
10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, 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.
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.