Renewing Your Spiritual Vitality

An older “expert” once said of another younger coach, “He possesses minimal football knowledge and lacks motivation.” In case you’re wondering, he was referring to Vince Lombardi. The parents of Enrico Caruso believed his teacher, who said he had “no voic … More

Perseverance

The Christian life will include times of hardship and trials. We must not live with only our own survival in mind. Others will follow our example and we have a responsibility to them. Every boy knows that his father does not discipline the neighbor children. He disciplines him, and the reason is that he is a son. God does not discipline the children of the devil either; He disciplines His own. Therefore, if we have discipline, if we are going through struggles and problems we need to thank God that we are one of His children. The phrase “after their own pleasure” (v. 10) does not mean that fathers whip their children to amuse themselves. It means they did what they thought was right, though sometimes they were wrong. However God is never wrong.

God does not ask us to rejoice in trouble, but to rejoice in what the trouble does for us. Later it “yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness (v. 11). In other words, he is not expecting us to put a smile on our face and go around singing “Hallelujah, it hurts,” but ‘Hallelujah, it helps!” It is possible to go through trials and never have them do anything for us because we complain all the time.

When things get a little rough we may even be tempted to quit. At that time we just need to heed an old Western expression: ‘hang tough,” like a ranch hand riding a steer. Someday we will see that the things we are now going through were necessary, in God’s wisdom, to prepare us for what He has in store for us. If we stick with it and with God there is everything to gain. The world is not impressed with Christians who stop doing something they have been doing but when they start living the kind of life they, as unsaved people cannot live.

Application

I need to live an example that makes it easier for others to believe in and follow Christ. Is this true in my life or do those who try to follow me end up confused and mislead (vv. 12-15)?

Hebrews 12:9-15 (English Standard Version)

Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled....

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