This month we have been fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith.
For me, this has been a month of hard lessons.
Honestly, the correlation between Hebrews 12 and my life is remarkable. How crazy is that?! God truly knows what we need before we do! He knew I would need this verse, in this book and chapter, to focus on during a time of transition and disciplining from Him. Honestly, I don’t know where I would be without it being at the forefront of my thoughts. God is so good!
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV
Throw off everything that hinders.
What do you need to throw off? What is hindering you?
God has shown me several areas that need attention—and in order to give them the proper attention I must make room in my life by shifting the focus back to Jesus.
Some of the things God has asked me to throw off weren’t inherently bad things! But they were things that had slowly stolen the spotlight in my life. They were things that were causing me to stumble and get entangled in some sort of sin.
One example is social media. In small doses, it can be used as a tool for good. But when you linger too long, it can become a source of entanglement of emotions like comparison, envy, jealousy or anger. I have placed strict limitations on myself and put things in place to enforce those for the times I might decide I could “handle” more. Because I can’t. I lose self-control and all track of time when I get sucked in without parameters and it leads me to places of unhappiness and anger that God has simply told me not to be involved in because it causes me to stumble.
Did it make me mad that God asked me to place parameters on myself like a child? Yes. Yes it did.
Later in Hebrews though, I caught a glimpse of what was going on that helped me through:
“And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:5-11 NIV
Being disciplined by God is not fun. It’s downright frustrating and truly can be painful to endure as you break old habits and deny yourself constantly. Social media was honestly small potatoes to the other things God has been disciplining and teaching me about this month, but it is an easy one to relate to.
God has shown me His faithfulness through His willingness to discipline me like a good parent does with their children.
I can honestly say that by leaning into the lessons and discipline, by allowing God to remove what was hindering me and by loosening my grip on what I think I need in my life I have experienced that peace in Hebrews 12:11.
I have actually never experienced peace like this before. The kind that wraps you up and keeps your inner being calm in the the midst of storms. The kind that has allowed me to take big steps of faith towards God that I have not been able to before. The kind that kept me at peace as I let go of what I thought was best at the expense of my pride and an watching what I worked hard at fall apart a bit—but still knowing in my heart that the God of Peace will, without a doubt, remain faithful and has good plans for me.
I am sleeping better. I am present in the moment more. I am approaching challenges as opportunities to grow deeper in my trust and faith in God.
I have discovered joy in the peace, another new concept I cannot wait to explore more!!
What has God taught you lately through discipline?
Happy Digging—see you next month as we explore Galatians and the fruits of the Spirit!