Our scripture this morning is Hebrews 12:7-13.
Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline? If you do not have that discipline in which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not his children. Moreover, 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? For 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. Now, 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. 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.
Paul writes from his personal experience of holy discipline. Jesus appeared and appealed to him on the road to Damascus while he was still a persecutor of the church, and he was struck blind (Acts 9:1-19). He tells us “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.”
When we endure trials in our lives our choices are to grumble and bemoan the situation, or to rely on our relationship with God to see it through and learn from the experience. Paul compares our human parents and our Heavenly Father, explaining that “He disciplines us in order that we may share His holiness.” God made us in His own image and wants us to be true to His original intent for us and that sometimes involves correcting us as needed.
Jesus warned that taking up our own cross to follow Him would not be easy. He told us that we may face the same rejection He did because of our faith. However, He also taught us through His life, death and resurrection that God is with us and the reward of eternity is worth whatever temporary issues we experience here.
Loving Lord, we are sorry for the times we have sinned and required Your discipline to put us back on track. Help us to see that following Christ’s example is the only way to be saved. Amen.