FOREVER TRIUMPHANT, Day 26—Lenten Devotional
4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation which addresses you as sons?--
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor lose courage when you are punished by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7 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? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time at their pleasure, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:4-11
Here are the six dimensions of Christian victory as I see them in the Scriptures:
- Because of Christ we now have the victory of a new relationship with God
- Because of the Cross we are offered a life free from condemnation
- Because of the Holy Spirit’s work, we have triumph in the midst of adversity.
- Because prayer to the Father in the name of the Son and by the prompting of the Holy Spirit, our prayer brings the presence of God into the lives of those around us.
- Because of God’s servant love in us, we have victory in setting up the victories of others.
- Because we submit voluntarily to God’s will, we know the victory of His discipline
This last aspect of Christian victory is not one that we typically celebrate very loudly or often. Perhaps to many discipline seems merely another name judgment and condemnation from which we have been freed in Christ. This passage in Hebrews bids us look at discipline in a different light. Because spiritual disciplines (prayer, Bible reading, Sunday worship, etc), the frustration of our desires, and even interpersonal conflicts are filtered through God’s will for us, if we accept such experiences as expressions of His love, they become occasions for growth and maturity in a way that a perpetual state of blessedness could not produce. God’s discipline is perhaps the single most important confirmation of God’s victory in our lives. Let me say it again forcefully, if you feel that God is stretching your faith and strengthening your endurance, that is the single most important experience of God’s victory in your life that you can have.
PRAYER: Dear God,
I am no different than anyone else. I do not consider discipline, from you or anyone else, to be pleasant. Athletes train. They say “no pain, no gain.” I can see that the Christian life is no different. You have made it clear to me that you want me to be a victorious Christian. For that reason, I invite you to exercise your discipline in my life, as gently as you can, but as firmly as necessary. This I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.