Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Disciplining in Christ way
“Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:12-13
The Book of Hebrews is one of the most complex epistles. One complexity revolves the authorship of the epistle. Another complexity revolves around the underlying philosophical presuppositions of the text. The text is filled with rich imagery derived from the Hebrew and Greek philosophical traditions. These traditions inform the author’s understanding of “Christ.”
Discipline based on the Worldview of Christ: This particular section revolves around Christian discipline. Discipline is centered on accepting a rule of life based on a world-view. The world-view that the author underscores is discipline in light of “Christ.” Christ, as Paul notes in the book of Romans, is the Second Adam who truly imbibed the essence of being made in the image of likeness of God.
Although the first Adam fell due to his own free will, the second Adam represents that actualization of God’s possibility for human life. This possibility is a life fully in devotion and communion with God. As a possibility, the typology or the model that has been offered in Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was the Christ because he represents the likeness and image of Christ.
Endurance as a mark of discipline: It is in this context that this section in the Book of Hebrews teaches us the value of endurance. Endurance is part of the process of becoming a disciple of Christ. Understood differently, endurance enables us to refine ourselves so that we can become “Christ-like.”The process of endurance results in “righteousness.” Righteousness understood in the Biblical tradition is a way of life rooted in holiness. It is this holiness, that enables us to gain strength and wholeness.
Holiness as being “Christ-like.”: Holiness as the fruit of discipline and endurance is a way of life that looks at the world through the eyes of Christ and acts in the world as Christ acted in the world. Holiness is centered on a worldview that sees everything and everyone through the eyes of love. Seeing everyone through the eyes of love then compels us to act as Christ acted in the world - not condemning but offering wholeness, not ignoring but paying attention, not castigating but inviting.
As we reflect today on these words, perhaps we should reflect whether or not we are serious about disciplining ourselves based on the worldview of Christ. If we are serious about shaping our lives in this manner, let us reflect on how we can make a difference in the lives of those who are on the margins.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Amen
Rev. Manoj Zachariah, New Jersey
Prayer: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, Amen