“You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.’ It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
---End of Scripture verses---
Things are seldom as bad as they seem. We often tend to think that our problems are of the severest magnitude until we consider things from their proper perspective. We may struggle with serious persecution, temptation, loss or pain, but we “have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood” as Jesus did (verse 4). Bloodshed may be required of us some day in the future in our striving against sin, but our struggles pale in comparison to the ordeals that Jesus went through in order to secure our salvation. Once again, look to the suffering and faithfulness of Jesus to keep the proper perspective on your life and your problems (verse 3).
We are in a perpetual state of training. God is conditioning us by our trials in order to further develop our spiritual endurance and stamina to deal with the next affliction that life throws our way. If “it is for discipline you endure” then “God deals with you as with sons” (verse 7). As much as it hurts us to see our children struggle in life, good parents do not remove all difficulties and obstacles from the path of their youngsters. A healthy dose of “tough love” is frequently tougher on the parents than the kiddos, and they prove their resiliency time and time again as they not only recover from setbacks but often flourish because of them. View life’s difficulties as the discipline (teaching, training) of a loving Father.
God is the Father of our spirits (verse 9). Our parents passed on our genetic makeup to us through the combination of their chromosomes, but God has created our “inner person” in His eternal, spiritual image. “The dust” that our flesh was formed from “will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7). If we allow our trials to shape us closer to the form of “His holiness” (verse 10), He will produce the “peaceful fruit of righteousness” within us that will burgeon and blossom throughout our time on earth and into timeless eternity.
Please read Hebrews 12:12-17 for tomorrow.
Stay strong! It won’t be very long!
- Louie Taylor