Friday, November 19, 2010

Hebrews 12:1-13

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 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, 
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, 
 and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 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! 10 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. 11 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.
12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

Questions to consider:
  • Describe the race you run.
  • In what ways are the Old Testament believers examples to you?
  • What specific sins cling closely to you? What can you do today to get rid of them?
  • Compare the discipline of a father and God.
  • What is your attitude toward God during the training process? Why?
  • What attitudes show that you are accepting the challenge of God’s discipline?

Possibilities for prayer:

This new take on discipline and what it means for us is a helpful one. It helps us understand what discipline is really for and about, and encourages us to look for the “harvest of righteousness and peace.” Maybe there are ways that you feel God is disciplining you in your life right now, or ways that you have felt this way before. Today, let’s take some time to thank God for discipline--for way that even though it can be difficult and unpleasant, it reveals the way that God has claimed us and loves us and desires good things for us.