On Friday, I met with TJ (my covering campus pastor) to discuss a worksheet on Hebrews 11 that I had been assigned. I figured that it would be easy since Hebrews 11 was about the "Hall of Faith" and was pretty straight forward. Boy, was I wrong. I learned so much from it, but the main takeaway was what Hebrews 12 said following the "Hall of Faith." It says, "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurace the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith."
Hebrews 11 painted the picture of a stadium and all these people who ran the race before us and are now cheering us on as we run the same race. Jesus is now our coach who is encouraging us and strengthening us just as he did for them. Hebrews 12 then goes on to talk about discipline and endurance in light of the stadium imagery that was painted in the previous chapter.
Now being the competitive athlete that I am got really excited at this because he was talking about endurance and discipline... all the things that as an athlete you strive for. Now the author is talking about them in the spiritual world, I realized I get a chance to be an athlete on the spiritual level too. The only problem is that physical discipline and spiritual discipline are similar but not identical. In the physical world, I could easily discipline my body on my own and train it by myself on my own strength. However, it is not that way in the spiritual world. This weekend was a big flop on my face as I tried, on my own will and strength, to discipline myself spiritually thinking that I could do it just as naturally as I do in the physical sense. Today, God brought me before Him and graciously showed me that spiritual discipline and growth comes only through him. I must be disciplined but through dependence. I cannot be disciplined by my own strength and expect to succeed. It is only by His grace and His strength that I grow. I must provide the water, soil, and fertilizer; but ultimately it is only God that causes me to grow. Today, I learned that DISCIPLINE comes through DEPENDENCE.