October 31 – Today’s Readings – Hebrews 12-13
As usual, I have to limit myself to a very small portion of these two chapters. My head is swimming with all the amazing teaching this book provides. Let’s focus on chapter 12:5-11; “‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.’ Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 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 our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, 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.”
This is a topic rarely spoken of in a society that does not tolerate discomfort well. We have “Tylenol” – and other products to take away even the mildest of physical pains. We have counselors and psychiatrists who do their best to sooth our souls. We have sleeping pills and comfy massage chairs to help our bodies feel great. We go to spas and make sure we only buy “specialty” coffees. Pain? Discomfort? Hardship? NO THANKS! Yet these verses send a clear message – God uses hardship to “discipline us for our good, that we may share in his holiness…It produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Do we want holiness, righteousness and peace in our lives? Of course we do. Yet any time hardship comes along we want to rebuke the Devil instead of looking for a growth opportunity with Jesus. Don’t misunderstand me – some kinds of difficulties are not from God and some are most definitely caused because we live in a “sick” world. Other times however – [you will know by the Spirit] – the difficulties are there to help you grow in holiness. God gets our attention through “discipline” at times. Scripture says if He didn’t discipline us we would not be His kids. Hardship and discipline are not pleasant but they do help us grow if we don’t get bitter.
I’m going to keep taking Tylenol when I have an ache but I’m also going to have an ear tuned to the Father whenever I’m faced with something that requires discomfort on my part. Sometimes it’s His voice that will make me uncomfortable and sometimes it will be a circumstance I find myself in. If it causes me to grow in God then good for me! It means I’m a son.
1. Give an example from your life when God used a difficult situation to help you grow.
2. Give a Bible example of someone who went through hardship but grew in the Lord because of it.