Tuesday, August 17, 2010

strength in hardship

Good morning friends,
Our author has just reminded the readers of Jesus' steadfastness in the face of opposition. Today he moves on to address their situation. It seems the Christians to whom Hebrews was written were discouraged and faced some kind of persecution. Elsewhere in the letter it mentions loss of property and here it says, "You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood." The goal is to encourage them in their difficulties now so that even if the time comes later for them to shed blood for their faith they will be ready.

The author also compares the hardship these Christians are facing to a parent's discipline. It's sort of surprising to think of persecution under the heading of God's discipline, since persecution comes usually when we are doing right for God rather than doing something for which we need correction. Maybe the bigger point is that the suffering comes in the process of growing in faith and helps us in that growth process. The author's hope is that with proper encouragement and teaching these difficulties will build up the church rather than discourage them. I pray God would also turn our hardships into learning to deepen and strengthen our faith.

God bless,

Hebrews 12:4-17
4In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as children— “My child, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, or lose heart when you are punished by him; 6for the Lord disciplines those whom he loves, and chastises every child whom he accepts.” 7Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline? 8If you do not have that discipline in which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not his children.

9Moreover, we had human parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share his holiness. 11Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

12Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. 14Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and through it many become defiled. 16See to it that no one becomes like Esau, an immoral and godless person, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17You know that later, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, even though he sought the blessing with tears.

No comments:

Post a Comment