Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

 Faith Practices Learning and Nurturing

Hebrews 12:1-13
v7-8 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.

It is hard to believe that the human body is comprised of approximately 37.2 trillion cells on average and that about 1 million cells die every day, yet, this miraculous machine continues to keep churning. What has always fascinated me is the process of muscular growth. In fact, skeletal muscle is the most adaptable tissue in the human body and muscle hypertrophy (increase in size) occurs when trauma or disruption via exercise takes place. When resistance training happens, the body adapts, but it is ultimately through the damage of the fibers that initiates growth. This is a fitting analogy not only for the verse of focus but also our walk with Jesus.

Hebrews is a book with unknown definitive authorship, but it is understood that it was written by someone of strong intellect and Jewish origin. There are multiple ties and references of the Old Testament, especially in Hebrews 11, the preceding chapter. The author stresses the importance of growth and challenges them to be able teachers throughout the book, especially in chapter 5. This is because teaching used to be done and coordinated purely by teachers of the law, but now as the Spirit had come upon them, they had the ability to discern from God and learn. As we read about the founders of our faith in Abraham, Moses, and so on, we know each one of them had gone through tremendous difficulty and hardship. Whether trusting that God would hold to His promises, or leading His people, each had immense hardship and huge learning curves

The passage of focus the author stresses pushes us to hold a new perspective on trials of difficulty. A common thought process among people is that God causes punishment and evil to happen to us. We know that in James 1:13 it states, “Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.” What Hebrews 12 states is if we believe God is our Father and good, then we know He allows hardship to ultimately grow and discipline us as followers. The metaphor of a father disciplining his children seems apt when we understand how we as young seekers need to grow and mature. In life it’s only when we face changes and the unknown that we learn to be independent and adapt. We are broken and wayward, and it is through difficulty we learn lasting lessons. This is no easy task, but it is one for our greater good and being.

My brothers and sisters my prayer for us as we face the end of 2020 with a new election process, COVID-19 still looming, racial tension, and so much more, is that we cling to the cross. Rather than be mad and flee from God, we call to Him and ask what we need to learn. Even as muscles grow and tear, they still need to be functional. Trauma can be incredibly scarring and hindering, but perspective can ultimately lead to new abilities and change. Trust that God seeks our greater good and and loves us. May we cling to this passage and run towards Him.

God please transform my mind to understand that the trials before me are not bigger than You and that is for my good. Heal my heart and guide me in my growth. Amen

Where have I held onto hardship and bitterness and not given it to the Lord to process and better myself?

Arun Chacko
The Mar Thoma Church Staten Island

Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church

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