- Set Aside Snares and Weights to Run the Race with Endurance.
- Look to Christ Who Forms our Faith.
- Don’t Despise the Chastening of the Lord.
- Without God’s Chastening We are Unrestrained.
- Holiness is the Result of Chastening.
Set Aside Snares and Weights to Run the Race with Endurance. “Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…” Hebrews 12:1a There are a lot of people who are around us everywhere we go. They are witnesses to our behavior, words, and even thoughts. There are very many things that ensnares us and weighs us down in our daily interactions with others. The thing that has power over physiology knows our thoughts and feelings while being hostile to the humanness within the Spirit of Christ. It is able to make us feel shame and many other feelings to put pressure on us to forsake the testimony of Jesus Christ. Cities everywhere are dominated by the people who live for the mark of the beast and parrot the thoughts and feelings that come to them. They are the source of the social pressure which abounds everywhere we go as we experience attacks for holding to the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Within us, let’s lay aside the uncomfortable feelings that come with ridicule and mocking, which includes shame and embarrassment. Let’s retain the Spirit of Christ as we remain separate from the Christless attitudes of this world. Let our thoughts and feelings be embraced with the Word of God as we dedicate our body as the temple of the Holy Spirit. Our sin is forgiven, and we serve a merciful and gracious God who understands our weaknesses, so lay aside every weight and run with endurance the race that is set before us, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1b
Look to Christ Who Forms our Faith. The reward we have of eternal life in the New Jerusalem far outweighs the sufferings, harassments, pressures, and whatever else is thrown at us. Those of us who have the Holy Spirit can sense the eternal reward and we are willing to suffer persecution at the hands of those who live for the mark of the beast. We look to Jesus as our leader, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2-3 Jesus Christ came as a human to die for humans and knows the shame and suffering that we experience today. The persecutors of the people of God are like human robots who have no association to humanness nor to the Spirit of Jesus Christ. They live by the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are given to them by the thing that has power over physiology. It is the mark of the beast that they live by. Jesus Christ shed His blood resisting sin and resisting a Godless system that hated Truth, the same as He resists today through the Holy Spirit in us. “For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.” Hebrews 12:4
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world,
but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
Don’t Despise the Chastening of the Lord. All of the difficulties, shame, ridicule, and mocking that we experience will sanctify us through the Holy Spirit. We are the children of God through Jesus Christ, so like a father, God disciplines us to behave appropriately to horrible situations. “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him.” Hebrews 12:5 This world is full of people who do not respond to the discipline of God, instead they act out in ways that brings violence, they blaspheme God, trample on the Holy Spirit, and curse the name of Jesus Christ. The upheaval around the world is due to the rejection of God’s discipline, who requires us to live by the Spirit of Jesus Christ. God’s discipline is love because it conforms us to the image of Jesus to keep us apart from the unGodly mess which plagues every city around the world. The discipline of God will lead to eternal life because we obey Him by coming to Christ for the forgiveness of sin. “For whom the Lord loves He chastens and scourges every son whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?” Hebrews 12:6-7
Without God’s Chastening We are Unrestrained. Without the discipline of God, then we do not have the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit is the one who restrains sin. Without the Him, we are not adopted into the family of God through Jesus Christ, “But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.” Hebrews 12:8 In fact, without the discipline of God, lawlessness abounds in the world, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.” 2 Thessalonians 2:7 The unrestrained and illegitimate people of this world have chosen to live for the mark of the beast in the name of humanism. There is no respect for parents because the thing that has power over emotions, thoughts, and behaviors demands to be the head over every household. Being a 1959 baby boomer, I remember my father correcting me many times, in an effort to keep me out of a self-destructive way of life, but that earthly discipline doesn’t compare to the Godly discipline that comes through the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Godly discipline results in Holiness and eternal life. “Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?” Hebrews 12:9
Holiness is the Result of Chastening. Earthly parents discipline us for the purpose of being appropriately dressed, or being home at the right time of hour, to select better friends etc. Even during those agitating times between parents, children, and spouses, if we are living for Jesus Christ, those circumstances become a process of sanctification. We learn to respond to hardships through the Spirit of Christ. The difficult times that we experience in this life are to sanctify us and enable us to share in the Holiness of God. “For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His Holiness.” Hebrews 12:10
The harassment, ridicule, mocking, shame, and hostility of this world comes against us but works for the good for those who love God. Those who govern through the mark of the beast wants to modify our behavior to live by the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that they form for us. They make life difficult when we refuse to make our body the seat of government for the mark of the beast, and they pour on the flatteries when we comply. For the followers of Jesus Christ, all of their tactics turn into a purifying process, a process of setting us apart from their unGodly intent and enables us to embrace Holiness. “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11
“….to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets,“
‘I will not impose any other burden on you, except to hold on to what you have until I come.’”
“I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.”
Revelation 2:24-25, 3:11