October 12 I Saturday
“Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” —Hebrews 12:3
The third direction in our journey to spiritual maturity is looking out. It is important that we see beyond the tough and difficult situations as being hard luck or something we have brought upon ourselves. We must realize these circumstances are often a tool God is using to bring us into conformity with His Son.
As a parent disciplines their child, God disciplines us. Hebrews 12:5-7 says, “‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as His son.’ Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children.” Some of us may have a hard time accepting discipline, but none of our discrepancies are hidden from God. He disciplines us because
He loves us and many times it is through suffering that we learn our greatest lessons.
Suffering and hardship is not something to be embarrassed about. When things are tough, we often feel reluctant to share it with fellow Christians for a fear that they might construe it as a sign of failure or a lack of faith. But that is not true. Despite being sinless, even Jesus had to learn obedience through hardship. Hebrews 5:8 tells us, “Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered…” This verse raises a big question: was Jesus ever disobedient? No, but His Father taught Him to learn obedience. This has nothing to do with the cross, but with the 30 silent years leading up to the cross with the way He worked, cared for His family and treated others.
As the goal for Christians is to be restored into the image of God, a tool for perfecting that is our hardships and sufferings. Paul writes, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs––heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory”
(Romans 8:17). Suffering is, again and again, an investment in our spiritual growth and is given huge dignity in Scripture. Paul also writes, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4).
The words, “suffering produces,” should be heavily emphasized because it is not prosperity that the New Testament gives as an evidence of God’s blessing. The real blessing is actually received in the tough situations of life. So we look out, beyond the hardships that come against us, and consider Jesus. We do not lose heart and do not grow weary, but allow our sufferings to be God’s tool of molding us into who He wants us to be.
Prayer: Dear Father, help me to look out beyond the hardships for Your purpose for me. May these hardships further my spiritual growth and deepen our relationship. Thank You, Lord.