So often I find myself reading my daily devotional but not actually letting it sink in. Not letting it make the change in my heart. I find it way too easy to do that when it comes to verses I have read or heard hundreds of times. I was recently reading my devotional and came across Hebrews 12:1-13. As I was reading those verses I felt a strong urge to go deeper and to not just read the words but to take the time to read and understand their meaning. I wanted to take the time to let the words change me and change my heart.
When we take the time to read through and dissect verses we can see their true importance and relate them to our own lives. I wanted to share this experience with you so this week I decided to go verse by verse from the Hebrews 12:1-13 and talk about what I was hearing and how I think it related to my life and quite possibly yours.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
This verse brings to light the importance of surrounding ourselves with Christian influences. When we surround ourselves with the right influences it makes it much easier for us to confess and repent of our sins because we know that we have a safe place to let go of our sinful ways. We know that we are in good company with those who can understand our struggles with sin because they are possibly struggling too. Accountability is very important in our walk and we should always have a few trusted friends or family that we can be completely vulnerable and transparent with. We know that sin can feel heavy when it sits on our conscious and that it can cause us to trip and fall deeper into sin if we do not confess. When we confess and repent that weight is lifted and we can breathe again but in order to do that we need God to provide us with endurance to keep moving forward.
2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
The question after we confess and repent is how do we move forward and unburden ourselves from that sin? Lucky for us the answer is simple, all we must do is keep our eyes on Jesus the Savior who made the way for us. Jesus lived and walked on this earth, He struggles just as we do but Jesus knew there was a bigger plan. He knew that He would have to suffer but He still freely gave Himself up to endure the worst in order to save us. We should be keeping our eyes on Him and doing what He did. What did He do? He held tight to the promise of life in Heaven with the Father. So even when things look hopeless we can hold tight to the fact that there is something better to come as long as we keep our focus on God.
3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.
When things are not going well and it all seems hopeless we can find peace in the fact that Jesus knows how we feel because He felt that way too. When He was was here there were many people who went out of their way to make His life harder. They didn’t believe who He said He was so they ridiculed Him and called Him a liar. That did not affect Jesus because He knew the plan was much bigger than just Him and so He kept the course. So next time we start feeling bad about our life we can hold tight to the fact that it is only temporary and God is in control.
4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.
There is a constant battle for our soul but the war is not over. There is still time for us! We still have a future and a hope despite how it may feel because God is for us. One day the war will end but we already know the outcome, God defeats the devil and wins. Our soul belongs to God and we will not lose it to sin.
5-6 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,
“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and don’t give up when he corrects you.
For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
These words come from Proverbs 3:11-12 and are a wonderful reminder of who we are and how God sees us. God loves us so much that He wants what is best for us which leads Him to have the correct us and discipline us along the way. Although being confronted with our wrongdoings is painful at the time, it leads to character progress. The reason God disciplines us is that He loves us so much and wanted us to learn and grow. This is where it starts getting a little touchy for some people and they run the other way. In order to gain heaven, we must become God’s children, and as such receive His guidance and discipline.
7-11 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
God treats us as His own children and as such He disciplines us. He corrects us when we are wrong not out of anger but out of love. If God did not love us, He would not discipline us. If He did not see us as His own children He would not take the time to teach us a lesson. Think of your earthly father and the way he disciplined you as a child. Although we might not have understood it at the time his discipline was right and it taught us many important lessons. Our earthly fathers were only doing the best they could with what they knew at the time but our heavenly Father knows all and can teach us His ways which are always good. God’s ways lead to happiness and peace even if it is painful to receive at the time.
12-13 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.
The last two verses encourage us to take all we have learned from the verses above and be refreshed and ready to face the pain of discipline head-on. God knows the ways of the world can put a lot of pressure on us and cause us to feel weak, but He provides us will all of the resources to remain strong in HIm. The final verse tells us to mark out our path and set a straight path so we can set a good example for others and keep ourselves from faltering.
I hope you enjoyed walking through this portion of scripture with me. I hope you will take it upon yourself to do the same and take some extra time to look at portions of scripture that are speaking to you. If you would like to walk through any verse together please feel free to send me an email and I would love to do so.