Hardship.

…do not make light of the Lord’s discipline…
Hebrews 12:5

Lately I’ve enjoyed working through a talk on the first half Hebrews 12. God’s timing really is perfect and it’s been so appropriate for me to be studying this right now.

The passage deals with discipline. God’s discipline with us, his children. In Hebrews, this discipline refers to the Lord’s rebuke or punishment on us. And this discipline is not necessarily directly related to an issue or situation that needs correcting – like a human father would with a child – but instead it covers all sorts of hardships we go through. According to Hebrews, (while it does include our struggle against sin and wrong behaviour – v1,4), opposition (v3), general hardship (v7), persecution and suffering (10:32,33) are all part of God’s fatherly loving discipline.

That means that the hard and difficult times we go through – as Christians, as parents, as children, as employees, as sinners etc. – are all considered to be a part of God’s good plan for us (v10). While Hebrews plainly acknowledges that all hardship is hard, he has his sights set further ahead to its greater purpose – the harvest of righteousness & peace (v11).

This is all linked to that magnificent list before this chapter 12 – the hall of faith. Those men and women (commended for their faith) who were looking ahead to something greater than the here and now; they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one.
They had their eyes fixed on Jesus (v2) and that enabled them to persevere through the discipline of life. They did not grow weary and did not lose heart.

There’s a beautiful pattern in Hebrews 12…

1. Seeing God helps us endure hardship (vv2,3)
2. Hardship helps make us holy (vv10,11)
3. Holiness helps us see God (v14)

Do you see the progression? It is also a loop, that keeps going round and round!
Step one is how we cope through hardship; step two is what the hardship is doing in us – sanctifying us; step three is what sanctification helps us do – see God – which is what helps us endure hardship… back to step one again! And round and round it goes.

Take some time and make sure you understand the never-ending loop above… 1 > 2 > 3 > 1 > 2 > 3 > 1 > and so on.

If we let it, the hardships of life are part of God’s beautiful plan and purpose to sanctify us and keep us looking up to the author and perfecter of our faith – the very one who helps us through hardships!

Wow!

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