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… Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, 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. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. – Hebrews:12:1-3, 10-12
Eat this, not that. Go to this or that gym. Buy this machine or that fitness gadget. Trainers, workouts, and nutritional supplements promise a healthier, stronger you. What would you do for a stronger, fitter body?
God’s goal for you is that you would share in his holiness. God promises a “harvest of righteousness and peace.” What would you do for a stronger faith and closer relationship with God?
Do you know how he grows and gives that? Discipline, sometimes painful discipline, is used by God to build a stronger you. Painful trouble is not fun, but God allows it. He allows it, but not because he wants you further away from him. No! Just the opposite is true. When sin and guilt, or hurt and problems push down on you, God wants you in his Word and at his side.
God is not punishing you for sin because Jesus already took your punishment in full on the cross. Hear God proclaim his love for you as he forgives all your sins. Listen to God’s care for you when he tells you his highest goal for you is an eternity at his side in heaven. Know that he loves you dearly and deeply. The pain you’re experiencing does not disprove that love. Rather, God says this painful discipline emphatically proves his love for you. Through it, God promises “righteousness and peace.” These blessings are yours in Christ.
God may allow very difficult things into the lives of his children. But, Christ’s followers know that God’s intent is not to cruelly treat his children. God’s desire is to turn our eyes and hearts to him and his Word. God’s goal is to grow our faith as we trust in his promises. Our almighty, all-wise and loving God will use even painful troubles to discipline us and “produce a harvest of righteousness and peace.” This pain is temporary. Our joy with God in heaven will be eternal.