Hebrews 12:1-6 The Message (MSG)
For those of you who know me well, you are aware I spend as much time as I can each day with our sweet dog, Gracie. She is easy to be around; a great daily companion for me. So, most of the time where I go Gracie goes. She adds to my life and is never a burden or a drain. Unlike Gracie, there may be companions in our lives that go along with us each day—self-exalting sin—that actually make us spiritually sick, drain us of the joy of our salvation, and leave us ineffective for the work of the Kingdom.
Yesterday, we read about how sin is the failure to love God and others as we have been commanded by our Father. Sin feeds on selfishness and self-centeredness. In our passage today, the writer of Hebrews reminds us that sin is like a parasitic companion that goes with us everywhere we go. Many times, we are not even aware of the hidden sin that clings and drains our souls of the Father’s blessings. This analogy of sin as a parasite is great. It may not sound very spiritual, but just think about a parasite and how it stays alive. A parasite is an organism that lives on another specie who serves as a host; the parasite benefits by deriving nutrients at the host’s expense. Sin leaves us in spiritual draught and starvation. It actually drains us of the God-life and hinders our vibrant relationship with God. Sin is a thief; a parasite is a thief. So, God disciplines us to get rid of the parasitic sins that try to cling to our selfish inclinations. It is a blessing to live in the Hand of the Father; the Great Physician who is driven to keep us spiritually healthy.
Hebrews 12:1-6 Discipline in a Long-Distance Race
1-3 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
4-6 In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children?
My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline,
but don’t be crushed by it either.
It’s the child he loves that he disciplines;
the child he embraces, he also corrects.
Prayer: Father, thank you for picking off the spiritual parasites that try to hide in my soul. Please keep me healthy and vibrant in your love; I welcome your loving discipline. In Jesus’ name. Amen.