Hebrews 12:11 (NLT), tells us “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.” There are times when we become so used to doing things on our own that we don’t think to slow down and ask God if we’re doing it His way. It’s not because we don’t care; we do! Some things slip by us. Either because we haven’t been taught, or we’ve never encountered a situation that forced us to change our approach. Maybe we haven’t had to endure so much pressure that the only way to make it through was to let God lead us every step of the way. Most Christians today haven’t had to endure this kind of pressure, but those living after the ascension of Christ certainly understood it. They knew first hand that sin is the worst enemy, both to Heavenly Father and to us. This is why they endured the discipline of righteous living with conviction. They were being trained for a harvest of unspeakable joy, and this is the same training that God has made available to us.
God gave us His Word so that we can maximize the most out of this life. And if that wasn’t enough, He gave us His Son so that we could live and have the most abundance that life has to offer. Hebrews 12 is especially impactful for us because it applies the rigors and triumphs of the Christian journey to those involved in a marathon or race. Not just any race, the one ran by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This is the course we all must look to. He finished his race and received the greatest prize that could be received. This is why his race should be our example, motivation, and goal.
In Hebrews 12, God tells us about the great cloud of witnesses, men and women of tremendous faith who ran the race that He set before them. There are also others in our own families for whom, years ago, life was so difficult and unfair that they had no choice but to lean on their faith in the Lord. If they had not looked to their relationship with God through Christ, some would have been consumed by anger and bitterness, or quite possibly they would have lost their minds. We can’t imagine what it was like to endure all that they faced, and yet they still managed to pass on to us a legacy of faith. It is not a mistake that we should look back on the sufferings of those before us. It puts our light affliction in context, and should cause us to be more submissive under correction from our Heavenly Father.
The Christian race is meant to be lifelong, but it is not a race without obstacles, turns, twists, and detours. It’s meant to keep us flexible, obedient, and always attentive to the directions and guidance of the Holy Spirit. With our stride steady and face in the wind, most of us become so used to running that sometimes we take this race for granted. We forget that seasons change. There are those seasons in which our spiritual strength is prime, and we experience a robust harvest of supernatural abundance. There are also seasons of quietness, where we know to be still. Then there are seasons where we don’t hear the voice of God the way we used to. This is our first clue that newness is upon us, and something in the way we’re running has to change.
Proverbs 3:11-12 (NLT) tells us, “11 My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. 12 For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.” God is training us to walk in the victory of Christ. He doesn’t want us to miss our blessing. God wants us to have a good life, the very best of everything, but just as a loving parent disciplines their child out of love, God does the same thing for us. He corrects those He loves. Praise Him for His correction! We want the Father to be well pleased with us. This is why we should take the time and space to check in with Heavenly Father for some endurance training.
It is not always that we’re doing the wrong thing. Sometimes we’re too distracted to notice the change in season. The flowers of blessings may be blooming in a completely different field, but we missed it because we didn’t wait for more directions, and ran right passed it. Recognize that your race must be ran with both patience and endurance. It is God who set it through the Lord Jesus Christ. He’s the Rewarder of our faith, and only by being obedient to Him will we have a peaceful harvest and win the prize. ■
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
“A Peaceful Harvest”, written for findchristianman.com©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!