Practical Application of Hebrews 12:5-13
When God judges His people, He never dispenses punishment as an end in itself but as a means to an end. Hebrews 12:5-13 expounds this truth as clearly as any passage in scripture. When faced with chastisement, we either 1) despise our condition or 2) despair of recovery (and thereby "faint" - v.5). But neither of these are necessary. If you are under chastisement, take to heart these steps of obedience as suggested by this passage.
- Accept your condition as God's right to deal with your life as He sees fit (v.5). The dullest warrior is he who deems it his right to fight against God.
- Determine to press on until God accomplishes His will in your life (v.5). Quitters only fail. Their fainting does not relieve their misery. Press on! "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong" (1 Corinthians 16:13).
- Recognize God's chastisement as proof of God's love and an indication of your sonship (v.6-8). If He allowed you to prosper in rebellion, He would be showing hatred instead of love. You are never nearer to the love of God than when at the wrong end of His correction rod.
- Actively submit to God's working in your life (v.9). Willingly come under His yoke for it is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30).
- Take advantage of the "profit" of chastening (v.10) for by it we learn holiness. The hotter the fire, the greater the chance of permanent change in our character. Work with God and not against Him.
- Look beyond the chastisement to the time of joy (v.11). God has promised "the peaceable fruit of righteousness" as the reward of enduring chastisement. We can trust in His promises. "[W]eeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Psalm 30:5).
- Shake yourself out of your dejection and self-pity (v.12-13). "Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet" (v.12-13). Remember, the biggest fight a Christian has is the inner battle to surrender to God. Pick yourself up and "revenge all disobedience" (2 Corinthians 10:6; see also 2 Corinthians 7:11).
- Let God heal your spirit (v.13). Sometimes we defeat God's purpose in our lives by holding on to defeat, dejection or bitterness--thus the warning against the "root of bitterness" (v.15). You have been injured for your own good. Now is the time to "let it rather be healed" (v.13).