1Therefore, 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. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”[a]
7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, 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! 10Our 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. 11No 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.
12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13“Make level paths for your feet,”[b] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
14Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
I am excited about Fasting and Praying and Journeying to the Heart of God with www.ibelin.me and his facebook and twitter group. There is something about being around other like minded people to help keep you motivated and on the straight and narrow path. I look forward to sharing in the devotions and the prayers.
What I recognize is that I also need to expand and express myself more than I have. So I have decided that in addition to journeying with the group, I will catalog my own journey through the Lenten Season texts. Prayerfully, my witness will encourage others to want to know Christ more intimately.
Hebrews 12:7a says endure hardship as discipline – how appropriate this text is for me right now. As a mother and wife and daughter and pastor and sister and friend I endure not only my hardships of finances, physical and mental well being, job security, health and wholeness, but in my co dependence, I have also for many years experienced the hardships of those that I am in relationship with. So many of us are losing our homes, have lost our jobs, in relationships that are not working, do not like who it is that we have become are enduring hardships that we do not understand, let alone have the ability to manage them.
I do not suggest that God has ordained these hurtful hardships for us, but I do believe that as we go through the hardships of life we have the opportunity to be trained and to learn from these hardships.
I lost my job many years ago, the embarrassment I felt made me feel overwhelmed and like a failure. For months I refused to leave the house except to pick up and drop off kids, after I gained 40 pounds, I was on the floor crying because no clothes would fit and I cried out to God to ask what had I done to deserve this. God yelled back, “nothing, but what are you doing to prevent it from happening again?”
Verse 11 says 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.
12Therefore 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.
God gave me the opportunity to reclaim myself not for me, but for God, to have peace and to be able to participate as a witness that this life is not about me and about who I desire to be and what it is I believe makes me important, but rather I was and still am able to reclaim myself and build myself up for those that I witness to.
Let us Pray
Gracious God, thank you for loving me enough to allow me to endure hardships and learn from them. Thank you for the opportunity to witness to your goodness and to your grace and to your mercy. Strengthen and encourage me that I am able to speak peace and healing to those who are experiencing hardships now. Help me to live in peace and strive to be holy so that those I am in relationship with will come to know you more intimately. In Jesus Name Amen.