Sunday, April 13, 2008

Discipline is a Blessing

Hebrews 12:1-8 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. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him 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 sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.

We all have probably both disciplined children in our lives and also been disciplined in our lives in our childhood. Discipline seems to be a very hard subject. We hate to discipline our children (for me it would be my nieces) but we KNOW it is very much a necessity and it will benefit them as they grow. We also need to discipline ourselves. It might be that we discipline ourselves with food intake, exercise, attitude, getting up on time, setting quality quiet time with God. Whatever it may be, it takes work and that is exactly what discipline is until we do it enough that it transforms from disciplining ourselves to becoming a habit of something we enjoy and even can't live without doing.

Our Heavenly Father disciplines us also because of His ever so deep love for us. God does not punish us but rather disciplines us with His love to ever so gently try to nudge us into the right direction. Discipline can be extremely painful but in the end it is also extremely good for us and also our relationship with Christ as we do grow during the disciplinary process. God disciplines HIS sons...if we are disciplined by God, we should consider it a blessing and evidence of His deep love for us. Please come with me as I share with you what the Holy Spirit showed me when I read these verses sometime ago and have kept the notes.

In verse 1 "we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses." We are being watched by believers and more importantly unbelievers (all the time), thus we as Christians professing to be believers in Christ have to be careful of everything we do/say. "throw off everything that hinders and sin that so easily entangles." For ourselves, for our walk, for our witness, we must get rid of anything that hinders our testimony and it is very easy for our flesh to be entangled in sin...thus we must always guard ourselves as in 1 Peter 5:8-9. "and run with perseverance the race marked out for us." We've been given a race, a challenge, and we must run not walk with great endurance and perseverance...not give up but run with confidence that God will aid us. I think it says run because if we walk we are more likely to be tackled by the devil and overcome with obstacles.

Verse 2 "let us fix our eyes on Jesus." Fix our eyes on Jesus...it can't be said any plainer. But "fix our eyes" ON Jesus....just speaks volumes. When we fix our eyes on something, we usually don't let go nor do we look at anything else but rather we will hold our eyes on Jesus. "who for the joy set before him endured the cross." For the joy...He ENDURED. Remember He asked God to remove this cup if possible. He didn't want to suffer the pain but He endured. Endured is such a strong word and it implies pain, sacrifice, and suffering but it also implies a sustaining power through and past the pain. Again, notice it said "for the joy". He knew there was great blessing and joy in His suffering and enduring the cross. He looked beyond the cross and the pain and could see the "joy". I believe enduring is always followed by a blessing from God. When He sees we've endured for Him (because He endured much greater for us), He blesses that.

Verse 3 "consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." We need to continually get the focus off ourselves and onto Him. "Consider HIM"...consider what He did for us and realize what little we can do will never repay that. If He can endure the cross for us, can we not endure whatever He calls us to in this life? Is He not worthy enough? "So that"...we consider what He did so that we can endure what He's laid before us and we will not grow weary and lose heart. Wow. When we look and consider what He did, doesn't it make it so much easier to endure and not lose heart, not give up but to trust in Him and trust He knows what He's doing and then we can endure for Christ's sake.

Verse 4 "In your struggle against sin, you have not struggled to the point of shedding your blood." Now that puts it in perspective. Whatever struggle we endure because of our own sin (or just because), we still have not suffered as much as Jesus. What a struggle His flesh must've suffered....not wanting to endure the cross but He did because it's what His Father wanted. Can we say the same? How many times do we suffer because we know it's the Father's desires? Are we now? Are we truly putting His desires above our wants or are we saying "Father, IF it be they will."?

Verse 7 "Endure hardships as discipline." Hardships are all a matter of perspective. We can be upset, angry, selfish, and bitter about having to go through them or we can simply endure and see it as what it is...discipline. And the purpose of discipline is?...to make us grow to be more like Christ...to pluck out our weeds and to grow our seeds. (Ha...I rhymed and didn't realize it...don't use that phrase as I'm going to get it copyrighted. haha)

Verse 8 "If you are not disciplined then...you are true sons." So the trials, hardships, and discipline are because He does love us and He wants to see the fruit and good in discipline. These are signs of His love for us and that we are children of His because He disciplines all His children. If we are not feeling His discipline, then are we really HIS?
Be Blessed in Him,
Paula

9 comments:

fivedesigns said...

Sweatpea-I read this and I truly believe you are growing in Him because of what you are writing about. Yes it is good..so when you write about that the Lord disciplines us..remember that when it is so hard to go down that road of anger..Yes, we all get angry with the Lord about our situations, especially when we had to go through a divorce..Even though I knew it was the best thing for me I was angry..praise God that your title for this blog is "His way..are not our ways"..that is so good! Just keep leaning on Him daily for your growth and remember that even though we know the Lord through out He may do things that we just don't understand..that may be your divorce or not. Keep it up and keep praising His name for everything. It's funny today I didn't feel like myself, like the past few weeks of glory..but I knew that the enemy was draging me down. Keep picking yourself up if you feel you may also be dragged down at times. When we do things like reach out to others the enemy wants us back...I just wanted to tell you that because He hates what we are doing. Keep looking up and reaching out.
Donna

also I never deleted your posting nor mine so I have no clue what happened?

MrsJoeB said...

Paula-thank you for visiting my post. Discipline can be viewed in various ways as you have deplicted. I have been disciplined in my quiet time with Him and I no longer view it as a discipline-it is a joy, a daily habit I can't live without, like breathing. Then there is the discipline I have to live in due to my wrong choices and sin. That is tougher but it does mold and create me into what He has intended me to be. Discipline is such a good thing and requires us to wake up daily and set ourheart, mind and actions to to be disciplined before our feet hit the floor!
Blessings!
In His Graces~Pamela

Robin Lambright said...

When I started my blog back in Febuary I had no idea just how many sisters in Christ I would come in contact with. I have been blown away with the number of blogs I come accross all written by strong christian women. God is so good to place such a strong desire in so many who want to share how great He is in our lives with these unique internet tools. Thanks for the kind word about the photographs I took. I am having a bit of withdrawl. I have recently moved from our home of 23 years and a well established garden on a 3/4 acre lot with huge hardwood trees, dogwoods, cherry trees apple trees, iris and daylilly bulbs, vegatable/herb garden ect.. I now live in a bigger house on a much (much) smaller lot with no trees. I have to keep reminding myslef that it is an opportuinty to get my hands dirty again and to rebuild my garden from scratch. The picture of your cherry tree reminds me so much of a beautiful cherry tree in my old back yard. It was georgious and I miss it. We have been living under some serious drought condition here in the southern states and I have been very limited in what I can do as far as doing any planting because of the water restricitons, but hopefully this year the drought won't be so severe.
Thanks for visiting my blog and I will check in with your as well. I try to visit my list on a regualr basis to see what everyone is up to and what "New Things" God is up to in the lives on my Christian sisters.
Blog on!
YSIC
P.S: Your title verse from Isaiah is one of my all time favorites.

sharon said...

Paula,
Wowww I have been reading your site, awesommmme please keep writing, it's soo good, God is really showing himself thru you.
I will be back to site looking for more.
Thanks
Sharon

SweatPea said...

Thank you so much, Sharon. That is a very sweet and encouraging comment. I was putting some thoughts together this morning on my next post (today or tomorrow). And I thought...wow, that's good. I praised the Lord because I know He has created me and therefore, He's also given me all the abilities I do have. He's the one who's created me with the mind and heart to write. And to think just a week ago I thought I wasn't talented or creative enough. I have several topics in mind for upcoming posts but I'm going to just let the Lord lead me. And I know when those topics run out and have been posted, the Lord will give me new ones. Praise be to Him. Sharon you have a wonderful testimony that you've shared through Rachel's Bible Study.

I'm so glad you have visited and will return.

Thank you also Donna, Pamela, and Robin. It's such a blessing to be a blessing and encouragement to others. I've been told encouragement is one of my gifts and I believe I'm slowing catching on and believing it myself.
In His Love,
Paula

tamtam said...

Sweet Pea--I love your blog, girl!

SweatPea said...

Thanks tamtam!!! I believe indeed God is giving me confirmation through all of you and the wonderful comments that I'm on the right track and He will use this blog for His glory.

Mary said...

It must be an encouragement to you to see how many are being blessed through your writings.

In the comments of "He Spoke" you said, . . how does one stumble onto a blog outside of being trailed from one site to another?

I think there are those that blog because it caught their attention and the desire to share and communicate was there. Then there are those that blog because they felt that inward pull that God was calling them to this as a ministry.

Some years ago I felt a strong impression to send in a little story to the Houston Chronicle that was asking for Holiday Stories at Christmas. My story was a true story about a miracle of love.
I completed the story and when I dropped in the mailbox I felt joy and to me, seeing it published was the end.
But that wasn't the end. About a year later I received a phone call from a producer in CA that was working on a TV special called, "Christmas Miracles." He wanted to know if they could fly me to CA to reinact this story.

Needless to say, this was an exciting time and just to think that my little story made its way from TX to CA!

As I was flying back to Houston at night and looked at the hundreds or thousands of little lights, it occured to me that in all the thousands and millions of homes God knew my address and he knew how to make contact.

God will indeed bring to your blog those he wants to bless through you. You just continue to write and He will do the rest!

I heard someone say:
"God wants it
Man dreams it
And a work is born."

mary

SweatPea said...

Thanks, Mary, for sharing your experience with me. That is such a blessing to hear that.

Thanks for stopping by and being an encouragement.