“For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10, NLT).

Do you think of punishment when you hear the word discipline? (Some translations put this verse in terms of punishment or even scourging.) At the least, most people think of something unpleasant. And indeed, discipline can be unpleasant, because it often involves hard work, self-control and focus. An athlete must be disciplined if he or she wants to run a marathon or participate in a sport. Getting up early and working out every day is hard, but is the only way to prepare.

Children must learn many things to grow up to be productive, responsible adults. Parents must discipline them by keeping them on track and focused on their lessons, whether classroom studies or real life experiences. Many children chafe and sometimes rebel, not realizing their parents are trying to help them prepare for life. Proper training and instruction aren’t punishments, but necessary and valuable tools, not only for our little ones but for all children of God. He doesn’t try to manipulate and control us by using harsh, punitive methods. His loving discipline and instruction are always good for us and help us share in his holiness by teaching us his ways.

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