Each of us are faced with challenges from time to time. We know that life will be like that.
How do we respond in the face of those challenges? What helps us through these times?
In this study we will seek the answer to this question.
Our Text will be from the book of Hebrews, chapter 12.
I will use Scripture from the Amplified Bible (copyright - The Lockman Foundation) for our study.
Shall we begin?
Hebrews 12:1 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,
Do you feel that your life is without direction and meaningless?
Do you realize that you have an appointed course set before you?
This verse urges us to strip away whatever entangles us and to steadily and persistently run that appointed course with patient endurance.
I do not want to get off track in this study by getting into the “spiritual gifts” but may I ask if you feel you can run your appointed course without knowing the special power and ability God’s Holy Spirit has given you?
Just some food for thought….
Hebrews 12:2 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.
Jesus is the One to keep our eyes upon. Everything else distracts us. When we focus on Jesus we are able to concentrate on higher things.
Have you noticed this happen in your own life?
Having our minds set upon Jesus changes our perspective. We see people in a new light. We see situations differently. We are concerned with different things. Self… less things
Jesus is the Leader of our faith. He is our example when it comes to faith.
Jesus is the Source and the Finisher of our faith. Our faith comes from Him and is completed in Him.
Jesus overcame this world by faith. Jesus trusted God. That is the example He set for us. For us to trust God.
Hebrews 12:3 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.
We are urged to compare what Jesus endured and suffered, to what we must endure and suffer. In doing so, we find encouragement to keep on trying. Making that comparison will enable us to not grow weary or get discouraged or give up.
Hebrews 12:4 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.
It may seem like we have struggled that hard against temptation. Often though, we just give in to temptation. Jesus never did give in to temptation. I admire Him so much for that. I am in awe of Him for that.
Have you thought about how hard that must have been?
Hebrews 12:5 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;
Hebrews 12:6 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.
No one likes to be disciplined or corrected. In fact we hate to be corrected. Discipline is painful and we feel shame.
Have you considered that the correction and discipline from the Lord is for our certain good?
Have you thought about the Lord correcting you and disciplining you because He loves you?
The Lord corrects and disciplines us to help us grow and make the right choices. He is perfect in His administration of correction and discipline. He makes sure we learn from it.
Hebrews 12:7 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?
Hebrews 12:8 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].
We can see that this correction and discipline comes because we are the children of God. In fact, if we do not receive correction and discipline from God, we are not His.
Consider that, the next time you feel the pain of discipline or correction. As you receive it, remember it is proof that you belong to God. Will that make it easier to accept?
Hebrews 12:9 Moreover, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we yielded [to them] and respected [them for training us]. Shall we not much more cheerfully submit to the Father of spirits and so [truly] live?
Hebrews 12:10 For [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for only a short period of time and chastised us as seemed proper and good to them; but He disciplines us for our certain good, that we may become sharers in His own holiness.
Hebrews 12:11 For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness--in conformity to God's will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God].
Cheerfully submit to His correction and discipline?
So we will become sharers in His own holiness…..
Do you ever long for that? To be holy before God.
The discipline and correction of the Lord brings a peaceable fruit of righteousness. It results in right living and right standing with God.
Do you see in verse 10… He does it for our certain good. He knows exactly what we need and makes sure that is what we get. There is no guesswork to this. It’s a sure thing.
What does that say to you?
To me that says God is making sure that we will become exactly what He wants us to be. He has a big part in it. He is our Father, seeing to our upbringing. Watching over us.. caring for us.. providing for us all that we need. You can count on it. You can trust Him to do it. Our Father in heaven will see to it that we will learn the right lessons. He has a plan for us. We are His children and He cares.
This Word is given to cheer us and to encourage us in our daily walk. So that we can know with settled minds that God is for us and works with us and in us to make us what we should be. Just look at the following verses:
Hebrews 12:12 So then, brace up and reinvigorate and set right your slackened and weakened and drooping hands and strengthen your feeble and palsied and tottering knees,
Hebrews 12:13 And cut through and make firm and plain and smooth, straight paths for your feet [yes, make them safe and upright and happy paths that go in the right direction], so that the lame and halting [limbs] may not be put out of joint, but rather may be cured.
Hebrews 12:14 Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will [ever] see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:15 Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God's grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it
Never loose hope. Never doubt that God loves you. Do not allow discouragement to weigh you down. Don’t let the enemy steal your joy.
Walk with purpose in your steps. Chin up, shoulders back and eyes fixed ahead upon Jesus.
Choose the straight path. Walk that path with confidence. Wear a smile.
Live in peace with all people as much as it depends upon you. Pursue holiness and consecration to the Lord. Choose it daily. Decide to live in purity.
Look out for your brothers and sisters in the Lord.
We all are in a different place in our walk with Jesus. Some are ahead of us and making progress.. and others are behind us and struggling.
Be tenderhearted toward your brothers and sisters.
How do you know what battles they may be fighting today? They may be doing the very best they can… and they may need your help to overcome the challenge they face.
Consider that the one reaching out to you, just may have overcome the battle you are involved with right now. They may be able to offer you just what you need to make you victorious. Welcome their help and appreciate that they care for you.
God has placed all of His children into the Body of Christ so that each one can be a help to the other.
A body has to have the other parts working properly to be able to accomplish great tasks. Working in harmony. Working together.
Do you need someone’s help today?
Does someone need your help today?
Beloved, I pray you will keep this in your heart and minds this week. Yield to your heavenly Father as He corrects and disciplines you. Let Him help you to grow and produce good fruit. Be a willing vessel that He can use to accomplish His good will. Look for good in each other and encourage one another. Allow others to see good in you and to encourage you as well.
Think what could be accomplished if God’s children all did as we should, and truly loved one another. What if we worked together to accomplish good and overcome evil?
What a happy thought.
God bless you in Christ’s holy name.
Bible study by InAwe