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Omer Week 2 - Gevurah

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by Adam Millson

Week 2 of the Omer (April 27th-May 3rd): Gevurah

“In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,

and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,

because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,

and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 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 spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 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. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.” -- Heb 12:4-13

Gevurah is usually used to mean power but can also mean discipline and focus. Gevurah includes the power to control oneself and keep on task. Discipline itself is an interesting word; the author does not use it in a sense that means the same as gevurah, but instead describes actions that inspire gevurah.

The author’s basic message is that G-d disciplines us to develop us. Hardship comes upon us to perfect us, to lead us to growth and closer to our full potential, like the pruning of a grape vine. This discipline is sometimes very difficult to bear, however, either because it is a truly trying circumstance (which should not be minimized) or because the recipient is not approaching it well. Discipline strikes more roughly if one opposes it; its benefit escapes you and its unpleasantness arrests you more fully. Consequently, the recipient should bolster themselves so that the once painful discipline instead acts to heal. It’s important to remember that discipline is not necessarily punishment – for example, it is discipline that drives a person to the gym to continue developing themselves. We should not assume that a misfortune means that the person has sinned and needs punishment. Instead, the discipline is always “that we may share in his holiness”; it provides an opportunity for growth.

In order to grow to our full potential, we must “submit to the Father of spirits and live”. To discipline oneself is to ensure that one’s actions and aims are in line with one’s principles and goals; to be disciplined by G-d is to understand how events that happen to us can bolster our personal discipline and correct our principles and goals. Our responsibility is to ensure that we embrace both. This week of the Omer, examine your life. Where is G-d indicating you need more discipline? G-d forbid you have a major misfortune, so what are the minor difficulties in your life? If you are struggling because you are tired, you may need a more disciplined sleep schedule or to lessen your screen time before bed. If you are constantly overbooked, you may need to improve your discipline in saying “no”. I am sure you can examine your own life and understand some area where you can improve your discipline. Again, share your reflections with your accountability partner or write them down.

 

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