Proverbs 3: 11-12 says
My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline
or be weary of his reproof,
for the LORD reproves him whom he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights. (English Standard Version)
This passage is quoted in one of my favorites — Hebrews 12: 1-11. The writer of Hebrews called Proverbs 3:11-12 a “word of encouragement” that can help us as we struggle against sin. The Hebrews writer goes on to say:
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children.
…we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it…. but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
They are good for us, those difficult circumstances that God delivers in order for us to grow in holiness, righteousness, peace.
- But we need to endure (bear up under the pressure of) the difficulties.
- We need to be trained, learn the lesson God intends – a lesson typically involving repentance.
- And we need to not grow weary.
For most of my Christian life, I got this. I endured. I was trained.
But I didn’t realize that it I might grow weary. And I did. I got tired of it.
I’m doing better now.
There’s one more admonition from the preceding paragraph in Hebrews that really helps (vs. 12: 1-3):
… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Someone looked out on a crowd of hassled and helpless sheep and had compassion (see yesterday’s post).
For the joy of bringing His sheep home and reuniting them with His father, He “endured opposition from sinners.” In fact, He “endured the cross.”
I know this in my head, that such compassion also brings difficult circumstances into my life (in order that I, too, may enter into that joy).
But I want to “get it” in a whole new way. I want to fix my eyes on Jesus, considering what He did for me…
until I am so taken by Him and His love towards me that I stop fixing my eyes on my difficulties and hardly consider growing weary any more.
Readings: Genesis 27:1-28:22, Psalm 7:10-17, Proverbs 3:11-12, Matthew 10: 1-5