Smeagol is Free!
A hermitudinal view of...stuff...


Endurance, Discipline, and Joy

In less than two days, I'll be doing something I've longed to do for a very long time. I've longed to do this for a rather significant portion of my life, really. What is it that I'll be doing? Wouldn't you like to know ;)

On that note, there's something to be said for patience and perseverance. Hebrews 12:7 reads, "It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?" We endure the sake of discipline. Wow. In looking at the immediate context of Hebrews 12, the larger context of the whole book of Hebrews, and also at the entirety of the book of Philippians, it amazes me to see how deeply the Lord uses discipline to form Christ in us and into His likeness. Although I often do not understand His discipline, the glorious truth of His Word reminds me that I not only still have free license to rejoice, but indeed, I must rejoice! It is not a command which is to be taken lightly, for if we do not rejoice in the midst of trial, how are we to rejoice when the journey of life seems void of trials? I would think that that would render the joy we feel in our hearts when all seems well to be a shallow joy, one that has not been tempered by the flames of patient endurance under the crucible of suffering. In looking at the Scriptures, the Lord seems to be saying that true, Christ-exalting joy is the fruit of patient endurance through the scourge of the Father's discipline; it is a joy that has depth, for only by yielding to the power of the cross and the conformity to Christ's death are we truly brought into a place where we are shaped and molded as the Father desires us to be.

In saying this, I must qualify my thoughts on two levels. First, there are so many of my brethren who are suffering far more than I; indeed, my sufferings are shallow, and it is only by the Lord's grace that I do not suffer more. Yet I am content in my sufferings, knowing that the Lord allows me to suffer only to the degree that I am able to to bear them. Second, it is through suffering that the Christ was perfected, and therefore, we are also perfected by the same means. If I were to say that I am always rejoicing in my sufferings without despairing of my own impatience in the midst of the Lord's loving discipline, I would be a liar. I despair daily, I fall daily, and I am tinged with my own selfish shortsightedness. What can I do? In my own strength, nothing! Yet I labor with the glorious might that is ours in Christ, and therefore, I labor on by taking up my cross daily, dying to self, and glorying in Him. Do I not have a Great High Priest who has made atonement for my sins, and who ever lives to intercede for me? Yes! Is He not also the Shepherd who leads me in paths of righteousness, for the sake of His name? Yes! And is He not the Bridegroom who has laid down His life for me, that I might be presented to Him holy and blameless and without blemish? Yes! He is the Christ, and I am His, and He is mine.

Thus, I must rejoice.

posted by Bolo | 2:03 PM
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