23rd July 2013


“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful!  But afterwards there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”
Hebrews 12:11 (NLT)

I love watching athletics. I even feel the tummy butterflies when the athletes are crouched, on the start line, waiting for the sound of  the gun to explode. In my younger days I won a lot of certificates for sprinting and I can still run for a bus without collapsing in a heap. If that becomes an Olympic event I might consider applying! 

During the 2012 Olympic Games, competitors were eagerly sought after for interviews by the media. Watching these interviews, it was obvious how passionate the athletes were about their sport and the trust they had in their coaches to help them be the best. The athletes were prepared to endure a lot of pain while training and they found that they were able to achieve more with the encouragement from the team members and spectators. 

The Bible describes the Christian way of life as being a race. In Hebrews 12:1 it says at the end of the verse, “And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.”  Like a physical race this also involves trust, pain and encouragement. 

TRUST:  God is the supreme manager and team coach, and He places His team members into the care of His finest team captain, Jesus Christ. Team captains are usually chosen because they show special qualities of leadership, and Jesus is no exception. He leads by example. He encourages the team members, and He does everything in His power to help the team succeed.  Hebrews 2:10 explains, “And it was only right that God—who made everything and for whom everything was made—should bring his many children into glory. Through the suffering of Jesus, God made him a perfect leader, one fit to bring them into their salvation.”  With Jesus being a perfect leader, the team members can totally trust Him to help them succeed. 

PAIN:  Under the leadership of Jesus, the team members start training for life, and training often involves pain. God tailors the training programme to fit individual needs. Some are strong enough to train harder than others, some will experience more pain than others, but God guarantees that the training programme will always bear fruit.   Hebrews 12:11-12 says, “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it is painful! But afterwards there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs.”  These two verses link the pain of training with encouragement. ‘Come on team. Take a new grip with those tired hands. Stand firm on those shaky legs. You can do it.’ 

ENCOURAGEMENT:  Hebrews 12:13 encourages, “Mark out a straight path for your feet. [That is difficult to do with shaky, wobbly legs.] Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong.”  As the team members push on with a renewed grip and firm legs, they will be encouraging others to follow their example.  God continues to encourage the team through the examples of men and women that He’s worked through in the past.  Hebrews 12:1-2 shows the team how to succeed:  “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.” 

Thank you, Father, for giving us Jesus—a unique team captain—one we can totally trust and who is always there to encourage us through the painful times.

Study by Diana Hall


ancientbibleAbout the Author:
Diana Hall attends the Southampton Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God, UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Southampton
Tauntons College
Hill Lane
SO15 5RL

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Peter Noon
Email:  peter_noon@wcg.org.uk

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