Text: Hebrews 12:5-11
Theme: God disciplines us to make us more like him.
Key verses: “And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, ‘My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.’ As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children…” (v. 5-7a). “…God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening–it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way” (v. 10b-11).
What God said to me: Son, you should feel privileged and extremely blessed that I just called you that. You are my son. You are far from perfect, and you are not the most faithful child I have by a long shot. However, because of my Son’s blood, because of the sacrifice your Big Brother paid for you, I don’t see your sin. They are covered by his blood. What I do see is your need to grow. I see areas where you are weak. I know when your faith falters and your eyes wander to earthly things. I am committed to helping you share in my holiness. I am the author and finisher of your faith. I am able to keep you from falling and present you faultless before my throne with exceeding joy. I started a good work in you, a work of sanctification and purity, a work of love and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Don’t be surprised if you encounter some rough times ahead. I won’t say how I will do it, but discipline you I must, so that you lay aside the sin that so easily trips you up. You can’t keep carrying unneeded and sinful weights that slow you down. You have a race to run! There is still much for you to do, much I have assigned to you. Unto whom much is given, much shall be required. And since you don’t seem to have the discipline and determination to finish well on your own, as your Father who loves you, I am obliged to step in and “help” you get back on track and finish strong.
What I said to God: Lord and God, my Savior and Friend, You are eternal in the heavens, God forever over the earth. I am amazed that You would call us your children. As John wrote, “What manner of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God.” I know I deserve death and hell; yet, because of your mercy and grace, I have eternal life more abundant. Thank You for cleansing my sin and making me whole. But thank You also for not giving up on me and for discipling me when I go astray. Oh how many times You could have cast me aside because of my stupid unfaithful ways. I am grateful for your patience and love. I need Thee every hour, most gracious One. I humble myself before You today. Please use me and correct me as You see fit.