From The Heart

Publish date: 11/16/2003

Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, 2 Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds. 4 You have not yet struggled and fought agonizingly against sin, nor have you yet resisted and withstood to the point of pouring out your [own] blood.  Hebrews 12:1-4 AMP


In today's world, we have so many wonderful conveniences – clean water, an abundance of fresh foods, mechanized transportation, electricity, refrigeration, computers, state of the art medical care, electronic communication and many other things that make our life very much easier than that of our ancestors. The danger is that we can, and have, become soft, lazy, dependant, and spoiled. We are in danger of becoming selfish, self-centered and unwilling to make even small necessary sacrifices. We want to have our cake and we want to eat it too. We refuse to endure anything that doesn't feel good – even if it is good for us. We insist on our own rights and our own way – even at the expense of others.

Jesus, in contrast, made the ultimate sacrifice without reservation. He withstood enormous pressure to not follow through with the suffering that lay before Him – the rejection, the verbal abuse, the physical abuse, the incredibly painful death and on top of that, the weight of the world's sin and His own Father laying the judgment and sentence of a sinner upon Him, Who was sinless and undeserving. He went forward to face His destiny, no matter what He had to endure, for the joy that was set before Him. We are His joy – He endured it all for the joy of seeing you and me transformed by the power of God – delivered from darkness and translated into the light – gloriously adopted into the family of God.


And have you [completely] forgotten the divine word of appeal and encouragement in which you are reasoned with and addressed as sons? My son, do not think lightly or scorn to submit to the correction and discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage and give up and faint when you are reproved or corrected by Him; 6 For the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes. 7 You must submit to and endure [correction] for discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons. For what son is there whom his father does not [thus] train and correct and discipline? 8 Now if you are exempt from correction and left without discipline in which all [of God's children] share, then you are illegitimate offspring and not true sons [at all]. Hebrews 12:5-8 AMP


Children need a lot of love and a lot of discipline. Parents, who love their children, will do their best to prepare them to function in the world as mentally, physically, sociologically, and physiologically healthy adults. A parent who does not love and discipline their child has abdicated their divine responsibility. Discipline is not only necessary, but it is essential to healthy growth and development. A parent, who loves their children will take the time and make the effort to train their child. Training includes teaching them the right things to do and correcting them when they do the wrong thing. A child without love and discipline is like an illegitimate child – no one has claimed them and no one cares enough about him/her to help them to grow up to become a healthy adult.


The Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves and He punishes every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes. The way that God teaches us is through His Word. The way He disciplines us is by His Spirit. The way He "spanks" us is through His Word and by His Spirit. When you mess up and you feel how grieved the Holy Spirit is, you would almost rather have a real spanking. When you love God, you want to do the right thing to please Him, because you love Him and He loves you, not just because you fear the consequences of disobedience.


We need to submit to the discipline of the Lord, even though it might be unpleasant and uncomfortable at the moment, as we focus on the joy that is set before us – the joy of godliness, the joy of being free from the control of the devil, free from the bondage of sin, and free from the limitations of the flesh!