Do You Think You Have It Bad?

“In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” Hebrews 12:4

This morning my daily readings of the Bible brought me to Hebrews 11-12.  Before starting to read, I always ask God to speak to me through His Word, and He is faithful to answer that prayer. What powerful reminders are in these two chapters from today!

Hebrews 11 begins “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” What are we hoping for? What aren’t we seeing yet that we have prayed about? For me, I’m longing for a healthier body. And I have to have faith that if God is calling me to it, He will bring me through it!

Hebrews 11:6 tells us “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Do you believe God rewards you when you earnestly seek Him and His will for your life? Do you have faith and trust Him to accomplish His purpose for you?

In this chapter, Paul gives many examples of faith from the Bible. By faith, Abel brought a better offering than Cain (11:4), when warned Noah “in holy fear” built an ark to save his family (11:7), Abraham when called to go to a place that would later become his inheritance “obeyed and went even though he didn’t know where he was going” (11:8), by faith Moses refused to be known as the son of Pharoah’s daughter and instead chose to be mistreated along with the people of God “rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time” because he was looking ahead to his reward (11:24-26).

I said “wow” when I thought about how Moses looked to God rather than enjoying the short-lived pleasures of sin. Can I look to God rather than the food I’m craving and the short-lived pleasure it will give me?

Paul continues to remind us of God’s faithfulness to those He called – from the Israelites walking through the Red Sea on dry ground (11:29) and the walls of Jericho falling (11:30) to lions’ mouths being shut (11:33) and the flames of fury quenched (11:34). Do we serve an awesome God?!?! Do we believe if He did all these things that He has the power to change us and save us from our own struggles with sin?

Yesterday was a bit of a rough day for me in this journey, I’ll admit. I think we can all relate to the fact that some days are easier than others. But, when I came to Hebrews 12, I felt like God was lovingly saying “SUCK IT UP!” And sometimes, that’s what I need to hear.

When we’re enduring God’s discipline (which Hebrews 12:7 tells us that we are to endure hardship as discipline) God reminds us to look to His perfect example. Fix your eyes on Jesus (12:2) who endured the cross for the joy set before Him; consider Him who endured such opposition “so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (12:3).

If you’re struggling like me to eat healthier and lose weight, then remember that “in your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (12:4). When I read that verse, I smiled at what God was telling me. I felt like He was saying “Yep, you might have it hard. The discipline may not feel good, and everything in you might be craving your old lifestyle. But, you haven’t resisted to the point of dying, drama queen! Keep on going; I love you like a child and can’t have you not disciplined for the rest of the life I have for you.”

It was endearing and hard all at the same time. I have to believe that God is faithful to accomplish His work in my life. At the same time,  I have to endure discipline and not grow weary in the struggle. Like Moses and many of the great prophets of old, I have to look beyond the short-lived pleasure of sin to the greatness of God and my reward if I trust and obey Him.

If you’re on this journey with me, know that God is faithful, He loves you like a child, and His discipline is for your ultimate benefit. And keep pressing on!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You first of all for being faithful. When we read the Bible, we see story after story of your mighty wonders and we are filled with awe of who You are. Thank You for being trustworthy, and thank You even for the discipline in our lives. Lord, we recognize that while this time isn’t necessarily “fun,” it is worthwhile. We trust You and we ask You for grace and mercy during this time in our lives. May we become healthy and thin for your ultimate glory. Help us look to Jesus as our example, and thank You for the blood He shed that covers my sin so I don’t need to be yoked with it anymore. Praise You, Father. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

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