Stop and thank God for being present with you today. Ask for God’s guidance as you hear God’s voice through scripture and the writer.
Hebrews 12:3-17 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as children—
“My child, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
or lose heart when you are punished by him;
for the Lord disciplines those whom he loves,
and chastises every child whom he accepts.”
Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline? If you do not have that discipline in which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not his children. Moreover, we had human parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share his holiness. Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, 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.
Pursue peace with everyone, and 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 through it many become defiled. See to it that no one becomes like Esau, an immoral and godless person, who sold his birthright for a single meal. You know that later, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, even though he sought the blessing with tears.
Picture it with me… You and your children go to the park, where you settle in with a book while your children enjoy the playground. A fight breaks out so you quickly scan the park, looking for your children. Once you discover they are nowhere near the scuffle, you calmly return to your book. It’s not that you don’t care about the children who are fighting, but you have no authority over them because they aren’t your children.
For a decade, my husband and I were chaperones for the marching band. The chaperones set their own rules for the kids riding their bus and we had strict behavioral rules for “our kids”. Students could choose which of the 6 buses they wanted to ride and, for some reason, the bad boys in the band always chose our bus. I ran into one of “our kids” a few years after his graduation and, after he hugged me, he told me he always chose our bus because we were the only people in his life who loved him enough to tell him “No.”
“The Lord disciplines those whom he loves.” God confirms His relationship with us and His authority over us by loving us enough to tell us “No.”
God of mercy, thank you for loving us enough to close tempting doors, cancel risky plans, and end toxic relationships. Though your interference seemed hateful at the time, we now look back with gratitude because your love saved us from our foolishness. We are so thankful that you love us and call us “your kids.” Amen
Go with God!