Friday, May 12, 2017, 1:29 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Full Release.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Hebrews 12:1-13 (ESV).
Every Weight (vv. 1-2)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
There are many things which may hinder our walks of faith with Jesus Christ. One may be sin in our lives which we have been unwilling to let go of, and which has entangled us once more. Another could be a stubborn spirit, resistant to the Holy Spirit, and an unwillingness to yield complete control of our lives over to the Lord, because we want to determine our own steps, and we don’t want to give up control to anyone, including to God. As well, we could be facing discouragement due to mistreatment, persecution, and rejection, and/or because we see so much evil in the world, and worldliness in the church, and we long to see human hearts respond to God, and turn from their sins, and to follow him, and yet it has not yet come.
So, there is encouragement here to throw off every hindrance, whether it is some entanglement in sin, or stubbornness and unwillingness to yield total control of one’s life to God. Or, whether it is a broken heart due to rejection and persecution, or sadness of heart over so many being led astray, and over so much evil in the world, and because it seems not many people are surrendering and submitting their lives to the Lord. We need to let go of these things, and we need to surrender our hearts, lives, and circumstances over to our Lord, trusting him to work all things out in our lives for our good, and for the good of others, i.e. for what is in their (our) best interest. We need to get our eyes off self, and off our circumstances, and on to God. And, we need to believe him and follow him, and not grow weary of heart.
Divine Discipline (vv. 3-11)
In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Pain is a great motivator. If we are not moved in the right direction via our relationships with Jesus Christ, and his instructions and words of comfort and encouragement in his word, then pain (suffering) may be necessary in order to move us in the right direction. But, divine discipline is not always for the purpose to correct wrong behavior and thinking. Sometimes it is to purify those who are walking in obedience to their Lord, that we might share in his holiness, and that it might yield in our lives the peaceful fruit of righteousness. In other words, divine discipline is used to mature us in Christ, to conform us to his image, to teach us total reliance on God, and to motivate us even more toward love and service to our Lord.
Yet, divine discipline is also to correct wrong thinking and behavior, and to move people to repentance and submission to Christ. So, God will reprove and chastise his children if they have fallen back into sin and/or if they have stubborn hearts, unwilling to give God/Jesus control and authority over their lives. And, this divine discipline will be to transform their lives into conformity with God’s Word and his will for our lives. And, it will be for their good, that they may share in his holiness and yield (bear) the fruit of his righteousness. To be holy means to be set apart (unlike, different) from the world, because we are being conformed to the image of Christ. And, righteousness is what is pleasing (or approved) or is right in the eyes of the Lord, i.e. what is pure, upright, honest, moral, just, and decent, etc.
Strengthen Weak Knees (vv. 12-13)
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.
If we have weak knees, spiritually speaking, we lack courage and determination to follow our Lord in obedience, because we give way to our circumstances, instead of putting our faith and trust in the Lord. We grow weary of heart, and so we give up or back down, rather than persevere in the strength of the Lord. Or, since knees are often a symbol of humility and submission, i.e. of bowing the knee in surrender to the Lord, if we have weak (weak-willed or corruptible) knees, in this case, it shows an unwillingness to submit to the Lord, to obey him, and to allow him to be Lord of one’s life because of a stubborn resistance to the Holy Spirit and to the yielding control of one’s life over to God.
So, the encouragement here is to strengthen our weak knees, which would be through submission to Christ and his Word, and by surrendering to his Lordship (ownership) over our lives. It would be to allow the pain and suffering of divine discipline to do its work in our hearts and lives in changing us, in getting us to turn from our sins, from our stubborn rebellion, and/or from fear of people or circumstances, and to put our trust in the Lord. And, it would be to motivate us to now make straight (upright, holy, pure) paths (ways) for our feet (lives) to travel, so that we may be healed spiritually, emotionally, and, perhaps, physically, too.
Full Release / An Original Work / April 15, 2012
Walking daily with my Savior
brings me joy.
Loving Father; precious Jesus;
He’s my Savior and my Lord.
Gently leads me; follow Him.
I’ve invited Him within.
Now abiding in His presence,
oh, what peace.
From my self-life
He has brought me,
By His mercy, full release.
Hope and comfort,
peace and safety Jesus brings
When I daily bow before Him;
Obey freely; do His will.
Follow Him where’er He leads.
Listen to Him; His words heed.
Now obeying his words fully,
oh, what love
That He gives me
By His Spirit, from above.
Loving Father; precious Jesus,
He’s my friend.
With my Savior, by His Spirit,
I will endure to the end.
Share the gospel, tell what’s true.
Witness daily; His will do.
Tell the world of how their Savior
bled and died.
On a cruel cross He suffered
So that we might be alive.