Hebrews – God’s Action in Jesus
I have watched runners at track meets with wonder, amazement and excitement. What a sight to see! Their muscled legs and arms show the discipline of training for this moment to run. They have shed extra weight that would slow them down. They eat protein and other healthy foods so that their bodies won’t quit in the middle of their long distant race. In rely races, you watch as they stay focused on successful hand offs of the baton to team members. They have done everything the coach has told them to do. They have listened, toned, disciplined their minds, bodies and hearts, and practiced. The runners are now ready to get off the starting block and run to the finish…to win!
Are we ready to run? Are we still posed on the starting block of life? Do we still carry the weight of past sin and brokenness which impedes our ability to run? Have we let God, our Father discipline us as His children because we know He desires His best for us? Are we trying to run the race all by ourselves, with no team members, no help, no forgiveness, no grace, no mercy? Are we still stuck on the starting block because we don’t know where to run?
Our next passage in Hebrews “shoots adrenaline” into our very souls reminding us of HOW to run the race with eyes FOCUSED on Jesus! Read, meditate, and be blessed!
Hebrews 12, The Message
Discipline in a Long-Distance Race
12 1-3 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
4-11 In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children?
My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline,
but don’t be crushed by it either.
It’s the child he loves that he disciplines;
the child he embraces, he also corrects.
God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.
12-13 So don’t sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it!
14-17 Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.
LET’S STRIP DOWN TO RUN!
–Lay down all that concerns us at Jesus feet right now. “Strip down”. We can’t run well with two full suitcases of burdens and things we cannot do anything about. That’s God’s work.
–“Start running and don’t quit” with focused eyes tenaciously on Jesus who is at the finish line cheering you on and helping you run to win the prize HE has for you.
–Repent. God’s first act of discipline for His runners is for us to repent of our sin and yield to His blessed discipline. Lose the sin that adds pounds of burden.
–“No spiritual fat. No parasitic sin.” In that sense it is teaching us to strip ourselves of harmful things like fear, bitterness, worry and anxiety. And reminding us that that sinful acts can latch on to us and, like an invisible leech, suck the spiritual blood out us. These things can cripple us and disable for the marathon of life.
–When sweat pours from your face, keep running toward Jesus. Discipline is not easy but necessary to win.
–Coaches of track and cross country students are chosen because of own knowledge, discipline and past accomplishments in running. Jesus is our PERFECT example. We study how He ran and we run like Him. Our coach is God, His Holy Spirit and the Example of His Son, our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. We can’t lose!
–Give into discipline that saves us, refines us, and transforms us to be the runner that God designed us to be. We can’t lose!
–Race to win! Don’t quit. “God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God?”
–Who wants a coach who doesn’t care if you win or not? Satan is that coach who does not care and is throwing up roadblocks in your life to trip you up. Watch for it.
–Discipline (training) isn’t fun. But…”it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God. We can’t lose with God!
–Help each other. Cheer each other on in the race to Jesus who is at the finish line of life’s marathon. Encourage each other over the obstacles of this life. Part of the word encourage is “courage”. Be courageously helpful to people on the path to Jesus. We get a glimpse of God when we do!
–Don’t trade away God’s life long gift for that piece of sin cake that will add extra wait to an already body of burden.
–Strip down, RUN! “My yoke (running clothes) are lighter and better fitting”, says Jesus.
Dear Heavenly Father,
You are the Great Coach that educates us with Discipline for Living Life to the full! Thank you for another lesson that convicts, encourages and sends of rush of spiritual adrenaline to our souls! Thank you for continuing to coach us, love us, never leaving us but always being with us, reminding us of the finish line.
In Jesus Name, Amen