Day 01: Hebrews 12:1-14
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And 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; for the Lord disciplines those whom he loves, and chastises every child whom he accepts.”
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.
Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:1-14 (NRSV)
We don’t like discipline. Whether it’s punishment from a parent or the law, diet restrictions, exercise habits, or management of time, disciplines tend to be unpopular or stigmatized in our current culture. As we read the Bible, however, we find that disciplines accompanied and guided the lives of holy people throughout the text. Whether it was the discipline of fasting, prayer, reading, writing, or working, the age-old disciplines have always been formative for the people of God. We tend to think that our thoughts shape us more than our actions, but that is not the case. During this season of Lent, this season of fasting, we are reminded that our actions and our habits have been shaping us, either into people who look like Jesus, or into folks who barely resemble his image. Discipline is not optional for followers of Christ. We are reminded here in Hebrews that Jesus himself was subject to unjust discipline, but for the joy set before him (us) he endured the cross. We join the way of Christ in this season, therefore, and lift him above all other earthly joys that we know. I want to encourage you to consider your own life disciplines. Are your habits, your routines, your disciplines, shaping you into a person who looks more and more like Jesus? I pray that we might not turn away from discipline in this season, but turn to the Savior, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
Jonathan Burkey, Pastor of Worship Arts