Hebrews 12 Lesson

Discipline, Adversity, and Temptation


Discipline is an important part of any good relationship.   Our relationship with God is no exception!   Consider the following two scriptures found in the book of Hebrews:

  1. God disciplines those that He loves. – Hebrews 12:6,  
  2. God disciplines us for our own good, so that we may share His holiness. – Hebrews 12:10.

As we consider the above scriptures, it is important to remember how much God loves us.   John wrote about God’s love for us in his Gospel:

  • “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16.

In the same way that we discipline our children because we love them, God disciplines us.  


Not only does God discipline us, but He also allows us to suffer.   As you read the Bible, you will notice that God did not spare His own Son from adversity, He did not spare the Apostles, nor will He spare us.

Adversity is an important part of being a Christian.   God uses adversity for three reasons:

  1. To teach us,
  2. To discipline us,
  3. To shape us into the Christians that He created us to be.

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he said the following:

  • “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope .” –  Romans 5:3-5.

The above passage tells us how God uses sufferingto teach us. Through our tribulations, we develop perseverance, character, and hope.   And while nobody likes adversity while they are going through it, it is a great teacher!


  • “Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.” – Hebrews 12:12-13.

In the above scripture, the “weak hands” and “feeble knees” are referring to those areas of our lives where we are vulnerable to temptation and sin.   Satan considers our vulnerabilities to be opportunities, and he pursues these opportunities aggressively!     

Peter warned us about this in his first epistle:

  • “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8.

Satan is a powerful adversary and one that should not be taken lightly.   He even understood Jesus’ vulnerabilities and tried to tempt Him three times.   Mathew wrote about this in his Gospel:

  • “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.  Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”   But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”   Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.  And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.” – Mathew 4:1-11.

Notice how Satan waited until Jesus had fasted for forty days and forty nights and was hungry before attempting to tempt Him.   Each time, Jesus combatted temptation with scripture, and eventually, Satan fled Him.   When we are tempted to do something that we know is wrong, we need to think about what the scriptures tell us to do, and then do it.      


There are two actions that we can take based on what we have just learned:

  1. We can study the Bible daily so that we will be prepared to combat Satan with scripture, just as Jesus did.2 Timothy 2:15says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  
  2. We can change our behavior and look for ways to remove the temptations in our lives that cause us to stumble.   For some, this will mean a change in who we associate with.   For others, it may mean that we need to change the activities that we do from day to day.   Mathew 5:29 says, If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” Mathew 5:30 says, “If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.”


God loves us.   He loves us so much, that He sent His Son down from heaven to pay the price for our sins on the cross at Calvary.  

God will discipline us, He will allow us to suffer adversity, and He will permit Satan to tempt us.   He does this:

  1. To teach us,
  2. To discipline us,
  3. And to shape us into the Christians that He created us to be.  

The ultimate reward awaits those that are faithful in heaven.   In heaven, we will live with God, Jesus, and the saints for all eternity.   There will be no more tears, no death, no mourning, no crying, and no pain (Revelation 21:4).

We will end today’s lesson with the following scripture.   It reminds us that all that we suffer in this time will be worth it!

  • “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” - Romans 8:18.



I think the Hebrew writer was talking about staying on the straight and narrow path that is mentioned in Mathew 7:13:

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

If we do not keep pursuing a life of obedience to God's commands - we will ultimately be destroyed - just at a weak limb breaks when any pressure is put on it.

The safest place to be is worshiping our Father in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24).