Updated: May 13, 2021
One of the most common social media posts says something like, “Would you punch your brother in the face for a million dollars?” Now I don’t have a brother, but I know the answer to that question, duh. So let me ask you, what would you do for a million dollars. Would you eat something completely disgusting? Would you never eat pizza again? Would you live on a deserted island if you could have an unlimited supply of Chick-Fil-A and a solid internet connection, but you have to share it with your 4th @.
At the end of the day, when something is incredibly valuable to us, we will do whatever it takes to earn the reward.
My question for you tonight is, would you endure what is hard spiritually speaking, if it meant living your best life in the future? You’ve probably heard me talk about how living in God’s will is the best way to live life. God made you and He knows how you can live out your calling and find the greatest fulfillment. So how do we do this?
It’s kind of like learning how to play a harmonica, it takes about 10 minutes to learn, and 10 years to master. In other words, it's easy to explain that submitting to God’s discipline is a good thing, but walking that out and actually experiencing God shaping and molding us into who He wants us to be is an incredibly difficult process for us. But the only way to experience the fulfillment of a life that is completely fulfilled, is to submit to God, you’re creator!
Think about these two verses found in Job 5:17-18,
“But consider the joy of those corrected by God! Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin. For though he wounds, he also bandages.
He strikes, but his hands also heal.
One of the things that stands out to me from reading this is that Godly discipline is a good thing. There is a such thing as good discipline. I once had a teacher in high school who was incredibly hard on me and a couple of my friends. I thought that he hated us, then one day he calls me into his office to talk about things in class. He told me that he saw ton of potential in us as a team and wanted to see us achieve our potential. It was one of the most fulfilling conversations that I’ve ever had. From that point on, I took his discipline, not as a man who hated me, but as a leader who wanted to see me reach the height of my potential.
The funny thing is from that point on, I wanted his discipline and I actually feared losing it, because I saw the students that he went easy on as students that he didn’t see much potential in.
I don’t want to be a follower or Jesus that doesn’t ever hear from Jesus. I want to be the greatest follower of Jesus that I can possibly be. I don’t want to settle for just being average, I want to be more than that. I want to be everything that He has called me to be. I want everything that God has for me.
The truth is, I want this for you too, but as hard as I try to put it into words, to motivate you, to challenge you. This is a decision that you have to make on your own. The reality is that while many people want to be extraordinary, not many people will actually do what it takes to reach the extraordinary. It’s hard, it’s uncomfortable, it can be humiliating, it takes stepping out from our perceived stability, into the unknown. Remember, of all of the disciples, it was only Peter that stepped out of the boat. When I see that, I don’t want to be in the boat, I want to step out towards Jesus.
While we’re talking about Peter, let’s look back at a point in his life when he was fiercely rebuked by Jesus. In Matthew 16:23, Jesus says to Peter, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” Jesus corrected Peter because he wasn’t thinking like God, he was thinking from a human point of view. Keep in mind that just a few verses before this Jesus told Peter that it was through him that He would build His church. This wasn’t a rejection of Peter, it was a correction. Peter learned an invaluable lesson here, If he was going to achieve his greatest potential, he needed to think in Godly terms instead of human terms.
Lets look at our main text found in Hebrews 12:5-13, Paul writes,
And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. 9 Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?
10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 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.
12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. 13 Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.
All of us have experienced pain in this world. It’s important to look at our lives from God’s perspective instead of our own. When we look at the frustrations, pain and sadness of this life, we can quickly come to the conclusion that life is not fair, and that God hates us. But it’s God’s perspective that under pressure, He can perfect us. While God is not the one who introduced bad things into this world, He can use bad situations to work and develop us into who He has created us to be. In a life that is committed to Jesus, pain is never meant to punish you, but to perfect you. Keep working through and keep trusting God through the difficulties of the life. God is working on you, He’s not finished with you!
In fact Paul wrote in Romans 5:3-5, We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Let me remind you of something, you’re somebody. You’re not a nobody, not a loser and not insignificant. You are a warrior, and every warrior has gone through some type of training. It’s difficult, costly and painful, but this training takes a regular person and turns them into a trained and sharpened fighter.
God is taking you from ordinary to extraordinary and turning you into the person that He created you to be. Sharp, excellent and trained - to be able to overcome anything that the enemy might throw at you, and to endure the challenges of this life so that you don’t just exist, but thrive in this life.
Endurance comes by trusting that God is working to develop you and strengthen you. Trust him and pray every day “God I trust you, have Your way with my life. I surrender to your plans, no questions!”