Thursday, February 16, 2017, 6:11 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “In Faithfulness He Leads Me.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Hebrews 12:4-17 (NASB).
For Discipline (vv. 4-11)
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.
The object of why Jesus Christ died on a cross for our sins was that we might be delivered out of slavery to sin. So, when we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Since we died with Christ to sin, “how can we live in it any longer?” “Our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.” So, we are to count ourselves “dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (See: Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 6:1-23).
Many people who call themselves Christians give in to temptation to sin far too easily. They don’t even try to resist Satan or flee sinful desires. Others make some attempt at trying to combat temptation to sin, but they fail because they are operating in their flesh, and not in the Spirit. They are still toying (playing) with what leads them into sin, and then they wonder why they can’t get victory.
We have to remember the saying here, “Garbage in, garbage out.” If we take trash into our minds and eyes on a regular basis, this is what our minds are going to think about and eventually act upon. There is another saying that says, “If you don’t plan to succeed, then you plan to fail.” Most people who are struggling with sin, I would say, give into temptation because they have no plan in place to flee sinful desires.
So, one of the reasons that our Lord disciplines us is to get us back on track, following him in obedience, and not giving the devil a foothold in our lives. His goal in discipline of the wandering saint is to reprove, correct, and instruct in righteousness. God disciplines us for our good that we may share his holiness. To be holy means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being made into the image of Christ, which is another reason for discipline, i.e. to conform us into Christ’s likeness. And, if we are being disciplined by the Lord, it should be painful and not pleasant for it to do its work in our lives. But, if we have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness, which is the goal (objective).
Yet, not all discipline is because we are failing to follow our Lord in obedience. Not all discipline is for the purpose to correct and rebuke us, but it is for training in godliness and holiness, and to help us mature in our walks of faith. It is so we learn to rely not on ourselves, but on God. It teaches us patience and endurance. It prunes us so we can be even more fruitful. It teaches us love, mercy, forgiveness and compassion. It helps us to feel what God feels so that we take on his heart and his passion for ministry. It keeps us humble. And, it keeps us focused on Jesus and on his mission so that we don’t get distracted by the cares of this life and miss out on all he has for us.
Strengthen Weak Knees (vv. 12-13)
Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.
So, if we are struggling with sin, meaning we are not being successful on a consistent basis in combating temptation to sin, but we are regularly yielding to what we know is wrong to do, then something needs to change. First, we have to really want to change or it isn’t going to happen, so we need to first yield to our Lord and allow him to truly be Lord (owner-master) of our lives. We need to humbly repent of all known sin and trust him to show us the way of escape he has made for us. We have to believe that when Jesus died for our sins that he put sin to death so that sin no longer has mastery over us, unless we let it. Satan is already defeated, so there is not any question who is going to win this battle. We just have to use the spiritual armor God has given to us to fight off Satan’s evil attacks against us.
So, we have to get serious about God and about sin if we are going to defeat sin. We have to have an honest heart examination before God and let him show us all the areas of our lives where we are giving in to sin, and to show us what is required for us to gain the victory. One of the first things we have to do is to rid our lives of all that hinders our spiritual walks and which leads us into sin. We can’t watch TV shows or movies, for example, with sexual situations in them or containing sensuality and not be tempted to lust. We also can’t go to websites where they have tempting ads on the side or on the bottom where we have previously given in to temptation. We have to recognize our areas of weakness and not allow ourselves to be drawn into sin by going places where we know we are going to be tempted.
Then, in prayer, before God, we make a plan for how we are going to resist the devil, flee sinful desires and draw near to God. We have to be proactive about this or we will get sideswiped, because Satan knows our weaknesses, and he knows our back doors, too, because he has entered them before. We have to set our face like a flint against sin if we are going to get serious about not giving in to temptation. We can’t wink at it or flirt with it at all! And, we have to be willing to have our friends and family members think we are nuts because we are not doing the things we did before. Sometimes we have to get radical if we want results. If we are too casual about sin, it will bite us most every time.
So, we learn about put offs and put ons. We put off lying by telling the truth. We put off stealing by working and giving to those in need. We put off gossip by loving our enemies – praying for them, doing good to them, and wanting what is best for them. We put off overeating by reducing our portions on purpose. We put off lust by thinking about what is pure, righteous, holy, just, and honorable, and by acting accordingly. We put off adultery by being faithful and by loving our spouse with God-like love. Every time we are tempted to sin in any area we resist Satan, we flee (run away from) the sinful desire, and we put on Christ, his holiness, his righteousness and his Word, and we do what we know is right instead of what is wrong.
No Bitter Root (vv. 14-17)
Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.
The kind of peace being talked about here that we are to pursue does not involve compromise of faith, conviction, purity, holiness and righteousness. Jesus never compromised truth and righteousness to make peace with human beings. In fact, he said he didn’t come to bring peace but a sword and to turn family members one against another. What this means is that if we are truly following Jesus Christ with our lives we will be hated by those who find offense in the cross of Christ. We will be persecuted, rejected, falsely accused, ostracized, ridiculed, mocked, abused, mistreated and gossiped about and slandered because people will not like our stand for Christ and for his word and for holiness. So, pursue peace, as much as is possible without backing down on your faith. Yet, not everyone is going to be at peace with us. Yet, we should not stir up trouble unnecessarily.
The other thing we have to watch out for here is that, when we are hated and persecuted and abused because of our stand for Christ and for his holiness, and when we are crushed in spirit and are wounded in heart, that we don’t let unforgiveness set in, which will then turn into bitterness. We have to be continually forgiving our persecutors and loving our enemies with God-like love, which sometimes means showing them “tough love.”
In Faithfulness He Leads Me
An Original Work / March 20, 2013 / Based off Various Scriptures
(Ps. 26:3; 86:11; 91:4-5; 111:7-8; 119:73-76; Is. 25:1,4&9; 42:6-7; Hos. 2:16-20)
Teach me Your ways, Lord, and I’ll walk in them.
Give me a pure heart. I’ll fear Your name.
Your love is always, ever before me.
Continually I’ll walk in Your truth.
You will cover me with feathers.
Under Your wings I’ll find refuge.
My Lord’s faithfulness will be my
Comfort and my shield.
The works of His hands are faithful and just.
Trustworthy are all of His precepts.
Your hands have made me, and they have formed me.
Give understanding of Your commands.
I have put my hope, O Lord, in Your word.
Your teachings, O Lord, are righteousness.
Lord, in faithfulness You have
Afflicted me so I may learn of
Your unfailing love and comfort
And Your truthfulness.
You are my husband; You have betrothed me
In love, compassion and faithfulness.
O Lord, You are my God, I’ll exalt You.
In faithfulness You’ve done wondrous things.
You’ve been a refuge for those who’re needy;
A shelter in storms; shade from the heat.
This is the Lord, we trusted in Him,
Let us be glad and rejoice
In His salvation which He
Provided through the Lamb.
Open the blind eyes; free all the captives.
Tell them of Jesus: “Be born again!”