Enduring Discipline for Righteousness’ Sake

Hebrews 12:3-4 ESV

“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”

The subject matter here is the forsaking of our sins so that we can run with endurance the race that God has set before us to run, which we can learn about by reading the Scriptures. For we who are in Christ Jesus, by genuine faith in him, are to no longer walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit of God. We are to no longer live disobedient lives, but we are to walk in obedience to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ, although he is fully God, when he lived on this earth he was also fully human, only he did not sin. But he was tempted to sin like we are, so he fully knows what we go through when we are tempted to sin, only he never played with sin. He never gave the devil a foothold in his life. So, he never opened any doors and invited sin into his life like many humans do, including many who call themselves Christians.

No matter how he was treated, and he was treated badly by many people because he lived a holy life, and because he taught the truth of God’s word, still he did not let other people’s treatment of him lead him into sin. He resisted all attempts against him to try to get him to sin, and his enemies tried to trip him up left and right. For, they wanted him to fail, and we may have people in our lives like that, too. So be on your guard!

Hebrews 12:5-11 ESV

“And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.’

“It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

What discipline did Jesus have to endure? Well, he had Satan trying to tempt him, and he had the religious rulers and teachers of the Scriptures in the temple of God hot on his trail all the time accusing him falsely of things he did not do, trying to trip him up, hoping he would fail, calling him names, and persecuting him.

And he had followers who were just using him for what they could get out of him, and some deserting him because his words were too hard for them to accept. And some of his own family members were against him, and one time they wanted to put him away, for they thought he was crazy.

And then one of his chosen disciples, one of his closest companions betrayed him to his enemies to the death, and his other disciples deserted him when he was arrested and put on trial (a mock trial), although he had done no wrong. And one of those disciples denied him three times, even vehemently the third time before the rooster crowed, as Jesus had predicted.

And then he was falsely accused of a crime he did not commit, and he was beaten beyond recognition, and then he was hung on a cross to die a painful death all because he was pure and righteous and he told people the truth.

And if we are following Jesus Christ with our lives, and we are doing and saying the kinds of things Jesus said and did, then we, too, should be facing some of the same kinds of treatment as did Jesus. We should have ungodly people, whether professers of faith in Jesus or not, who will come against us and accuse us falsely of what we did not do or say and who will try to trip us up, and who will attempt to lead us into sin, but we must resist them.

And if we are not facing the kinds of hostility from sinners that Jesus faced, and if we don’t have people against us because of our walks of faith in Jesus Christ, and if we are not being persecuted for righteousness’ sake, then chances are good that we are illegitimate children of God who are pretending to be in relationship with Jesus Christ while we are still living according to the flesh, and not according to the Spirit.

But all that God allows us to go through is for our good, that we may share in his holiness. For, if we respond correctly to these difficult situations in our lives, and we don’t retreat, but we persevere, later it will yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness to us who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 12:12-13 ESV

“Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.”

The image of drooping hands and weak knees brings with it the idea of those who are giving way to fear and who are not walking by faith. And sometimes giving way to fear means retreating from what we know is right to follow after what we know is wrong and/or it is refusing to do the good we know we ought to do out of fear of being hated, mistreated, and rejected on the account of righteousness. These things we must put away from us.

And we are to strengthen those drooping hands and weak knees by choosing to walk in obedience to our Lord in submission to him and to his ways regardless of how we are treated by other humans. And making straight paths for our feet has to do with choosing the path of righteousness and holiness and then walking that path in the power of God’s Spirit. And that involves daily saying “No!” to sin and “Yes!” to God.

And there is great healing that takes place in our hearts and lives when we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, and when we choose to walk in his ways and in his truth despite how we are treated by other people, and despite the hostility we may have to endure from those who are walking in sin. For we can endure such treatment for the same joy that Jesus had set before him which is the salvation of human lives and lives committed to following Jesus in purity of devotion to him and in surrender to his will for their lives.

He Lifted Our Burdens

An Original Work / February 15, 2014
Based off Isaiah 9:2-7

People walk in darkness.
They abide in their sin.
It has power o’er them.
True belief escapes them.

Jesus Christ came to save them.
He gave His life up for them;
Crucified; died for our sin,
So we might be forgiven,
And have life up in heaven.

Many come to know Him.
God’s love now o’erflows them.
They rejoice in vict’ry.
Their sin is but hist’ry.

We were once bound in slav’ry.
Jesus lifted our burdens;
Set us now free from Satan,
So we now walk in freedom.
Sin has no more dominion.

Praise be to our Savior!
He showed us His favor.
He took all our burdens;
Cast them all upon Him.

He is our mediator;
The Light which shines in darkness.
Counselor in our troubles;
He gives peace now in our hearts;
Joy which is everlasting.

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