“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.’
“It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?.. 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; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy…” Hebrews 12:1-7,9-16a
Indeed, ‘all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant,’ but the Scriptures give great encouragement how and why to endure. Humanly speaking, we have a great cloud of witnesses- ordinary people just like us- who have preceded us, and their faith is recorded as our example. Even better, Jesus has gone before us, never yielding to temptation or abandoning His purpose, and victoriously endured for our benefit, our holiness. When we consider their hope and triumphs, are we not spurred on to yield to divine discipline’s guiding, correcting, and shaping hands? (Hebrews 11:1-2,4-40)
The done of discipline is the transformed life and power Jesus lived and made possible for us through His obedience. The do is appropriating His discipline in our lives that we might be Christlike as His emissaries here on earth. Discipline is not punishment. Rather, it is training applied to produce a certain outcome, namely our holiness. (Philippians 2:5-16)
What areas of attitude or action need particular strengthening and discipline? Where need we more pointedly strive to cooperate with His sanctifying exhortation? Jesus looked to the joy beyond the cross. We look to Him, and saints before us, to take heart and triumph by their same grace.
Holy Father, may I wholly yield to Your perfectly designed and measured discipline, and so be made like You in every way.