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.

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HEBREWS 12:3-13

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.”

Supporting Scripture:

• 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.”

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