FOR THE MOMENT
TO BE JOYFUL
pasa de paideia pros men to paron (PAPNSA) ou dokei (5719) charas
einai (PAN) alla lupes: (Psalms 89:32; 118:18; Proverbs 15:10;
quotes on suffering and trials - 1Peter 1:6-note;
of suffering as a Divine Gift!
Exposition related to suffering
- Romans 8:18
Exposition related to
Exposition on how the Savior Succors Suffering Saints
- Hebrews 2:18
Discussion of what the
of All Grace Promises when we suffer-
how God uses suffering in the life of a saint - 2Cor 12:9-note; 2Co
Exposition on Trials
- James 1:2
present pain versus future joy - Matthew 5:10, 11, 12-
to do a Site Search - Enter the
word SUFFERING in Preceptaustin Search
All (pas) - No
exceptions! Beloved, let's be honest, when the Almighty, Omnipotent
God disciplines us it is ALWAYS not fun!
Wuest adds that "The
emphasis is upon the fact that every kind of chastening, whether
human or divine, does not seem joyous."
Spurgeon - Carnal reason
judges in the present light, which happens to be the very worst
light in which to form a correct estimate. Suppose that I am under a
great tribulation today—let it be a bodily affliction—the head is
aching, the heart is palpitating, the mind is agitated and
distracted. Am I in a fit state to judge the quality of affliction
with a distracted and addled brain? With the scales of the judgment
lifted from their proper place, how can I sit and form a just idea
of the wisdom of God in his dispensations? All that flesh and blood
can discover of the quality of affliction is but its outward
superficial appearance. We are not able by the eye of reason to
discover the real virtue of sanctified tribulation; this discernment
is the privilege of faith.
from país =
for study of related verb
paideuo) means to provide
instruction, with the intent of forming proper habits of behavior, of
providing guidance for responsible living, of rearing and guiding a
child toward maturity. Paideia is a broad term, signifying
whatever parents and teachers do to train, correct, cultivate, and
educate children in order to help them develop and mature as they
Paideia - 6x in 6v - Eph
He 12:7, 8-note,
NAS = discipline(5), training(1).
Although paideia refers
primarily to the training or discipline of children (whether in the
schools of men - Acts 7:22, Acts 22:3 or in the school of God,
et al), at one end of the spectrum it describes the training that
occurs by teaching, instructing, educating or nurturing and at the
other end of the spectrum the training that occurs by utilizing
correction and punishment if necessary (which it usually is for
children) as a part of the training or child rearing process bringing
them to maturity (this end of the spectrum conveyed by English words
like chastise or chasten, as morally disciplining an adult, correcting
them and giving them guidance). From these definitions one can see
that the meaning of paideia is dependent on the context.
writes that paideia (and paideuo) "moves from education to correction
and finally embraces the concept of punishment. This idea is quite
unpopular, because many Christians confuse salvation with
sentimentality. God does not tolerate sin among Christians, but rather
disciplines them as a good father would (Heb. 12:5-11). In fact, if a
Christian is comfortable and undisciplined, there is cause to doubt
that he truly is a believer. (Detzler,
Wayne E: New Testament Words in Today's Language. Victor. 1986)
says that the English word discipline describes training that
corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character
says paideia describes "the whole training and education of
children (which relates to the cultivation of mind and morals, and
employs for this purpose now commands and admonitions, now reproof and
punishment). In Greek writings from Aeschylus on, it includes also the
care and training of the body. Whatever in adults also cultivates the
soul, especially by correcting mistakes and curbing the passions
hence, a. instruction which aims at the increase of virtue: b.
according to Biblical usage chastisement, chastening (of the evils
with which God visits men for their amendment)
writes that "Paideia from pais a
child. In classical usage, that which is applied to train and educate
a child. So Plato: “Education (Paideia) is the
constraining and directing of youth toward that right reason which the
law affirms, and which the experience of the best of our elders has
agreed to be truly right” (“Laws,” 659).(Kittel,
G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the
New Testament. Eerdmans)
adds that "In scriptural usage another meaning
has come into it and its kindred verb paideuein, which recognizes the
necessity of correction or chastisement to thorough discipline. So
Lev. 26:18; Ps. 6:1; Isa. 53:5; Heb. 12:5–8. In Acts 7:22 paideuo
occurs in the original classical sense: “Moses was instructed (epaideuthe)
in all the wisdom,” etc. The term here covers all the agencies which
contribute to moral and spiritual training. (Vincent, M. R. Word
Studies in the New Testament 3:404).
MacArthur has a helpful note on paideia writing that it
refers to "the systematic training of
children. It includes the idea of correction for wrongdoing, as seen
in the well–known proverb, “He who spares his rod hates his
son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently” (Pr. 13:24).
In the several uses of the term in
Hebrews 12:5-11, the translators of the Authorized Version rendered
it “chastening,” which is clearly the emphasis of that context.
Paul’s meaning here is expressed even more fully, however, in the
proverb “Train up a child in the way he
should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Pr
22:6). Discipline has to do with the
overall training of children, including punishment. Susannah Wesley, the mother of John
and Charles Wesley, raised seventeen children and had these words to
say about raising children: “The parent who studies to subdue
[self–will] in his child works together with God in the renewing and
saving a soul. The parent who indulges it does the devil’s work, makes
religion impracticable, salvation unattainable, and does all that in
him lies to damn his child, soul and body forever” (cited in The
Journal of John Wesley [Chicago: Moody, n.d.], p. 106).
is used 50 times in the
(Deut. 11:2; Ezra 7:26; Job 20:3; 37:13; Ps. 2:12; 18:35; 50:17;
119:66; Pr. 1:2, 7f; 3:11; 4:1, 13; 5:12; 6:23; 8:10; 10:17; 12:1;
13:18; 15:5, 10, 32f; 16:17, 22; 17:8; 19:20, 27; 22:15; 23:12; 24:32;
25:1; Isa. 26:16; 50:4f; 53:5; Jer. 2:30; 5:3; 7:27; 17:23; 30:14;
32:33; 35:13; Ezek. 13:9; Dan. 1:20; Amos 3:7; Hab. 1:12; Zeph. 3:2,
7). Here are a few representative uses...
Psalm 50:17 "For you hate
discipline (Lxx = paideia), and you cast My words behind you.
Proverbs 1:8 Hear, my son,
your father's instruction, And do not forsake your mother's
Proverbs 3:11 My son, do not
reject the discipline of the LORD, Or loathe His reproof,
Proverbs 6:23 For the
commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light; And reproofs for
discipline are the way of life,
Proverbs 10:17 He is on the
path of life who heeds instruction, But he who forsakes reproof
Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves
discipline loves knowledge, But he who hates reproof is stupid.
Proverbs 13:18 Poverty and
shame will come to him who neglects discipline, But he who
regards reproof will be honored.
Proverbs 15:5 A fool rejects
his father's discipline, But he who regards reproof is prudent.
Proverbs 15:10 Stern
discipline is for him who forsakes the way; He who hates reproof
Proverbs 15:32 He who
neglects discipline despises himself, But he who listens to
reproof acquires understanding.
Proverbs 15:33 The fear of
the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor comes
Understanding is a fountain of life to him who has it, But the
discipline of fools is folly.
Proverbs 19:20 Listen to
counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of
Proverbs 19:27 Cease
listening, my son, to discipline, And you will stray from the
words of knowledge.
Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness
is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will
remove it far from him.
Proverbs 23:12 Apply your
heart to discipline, And your ears to words of knowledge.
Jeremiah 2:30 "In vain I
have struck your sons; They accepted no chastening. Your sword
has devoured your prophets Like a destroying lion.
Jeremiah 17:23 "Yet they did
not listen or incline their ears, but stiffened their necks in order
not to listen or take correction.
Habakkuk 1:12 Art Thou not
from everlasting, O LORD, my God, my Holy One? We will not die. Thou,
O LORD, hast appointed them to judge; And Thou, O Rock, hast
established them to correct.
Zephaniah 3:2 She heeded no
voice; She accepted no instruction. She did not trust in the
LORD; She did not draw near to her God.
Someone has written
- And so what do I
say? I say let the rains of disappointment come, if they water the
plants of spiritual grace. Let the winds of adversity blow, if they
serve to root more securely the trees that God has planted. I say, let
the sun of prosperity be eclipsed, if that brings me closer to the
true light of life. Welcome, sweet discipline, discipline designed for
my joy, discipline designed to make me what God wants me to be.
For the moment
(pareimi from pará = near, with + eimi = to
be) means to be near at hand and so to to be present at a
particular time and place, here referring to the time of divine
Pareimi - 24x in 23v - Matt
26:50; Luke 13:1; John 7:6; 11:28; Acts 10:21, 33; 12:20; 17:6; 24:19;
1 Cor 5:3; 2 Cor 10:2, 11; 11:9; 13:2, 10; Gal 4:18, 20; Col 1:6; Heb
12:11; 13:5; 2 Pet 1:9, 12; Rev 17:8. NAS = am present(1), been
present(1), came(1), come(4), have(1), have come(1), here(1), here
present(1), lacks*(1), moment(1), present(10).
(dokeo) means to hold an opinion based upon appearances which
may be significantly different from reality. It means to regard
something as presumably true, without particular certainty. In the
present passage, the verb seems (discipline "seems" not to be joyful) hints that there is a
kind of residual joy of hope that hangs on beneath the cloud, but the
tears and the sighs and the groans are so many that it looks like
sorrow has the upper hand - at least for a season. As it does when a
child cries after a spanking.
Dokeo - 62x in 61v - Matt
3:9; 6:7; 17:25; 18:12; 21:28; 22:17, 42; 24:44; 26:53, 66; Mark 6:49;
10:42; Luke 1:3; 8:18; 10:36; 12:40, 51; 13:2, 4; 19:11; 22:24; 24:37;
John 5:39, 45; 11:13, 31, 56; 13:29; 16:2; 20:15; Acts 12:9; 15:22,
25, 28; 17:18; 25:27; 26:9; 27:13; 1 Cor 3:18; 4:9; 7:40; 8:2; 10:12;
11:16; 12:22f; 14:37; 2 Cor 10:9; 11:16; 12:19; Gal 2:2, 6, 9; 6:3;
Phil 3:4; Heb 4:1; 10:29; 12:10f; Jas 1:26; 4:5. NAS = deem(1),
expect(1), has a mind(1), inclined(1), recognized(1), regarded(1),
reputation(3), reputed(1), seem(3), seemed best(1), seemed fitting(1),
seemed good(4), seems(3), suppose(5), supposed(2), supposes(1),
supposing(4), think(18), thinking(1), thinks(6), thought(4)
Steven Cole - As an old man looking back on his
life, the late Malcolm Muggeridge observed, Contrary to what might be
expected, I look back on experiences that at the time seemed
especially desolating and painful with particular satisfaction.
Indeed, everything I have learned, everything that has truly enhanced
and enlightened my existence, has been through affliction and not
through happiness. If it ever were to be possible to eliminate
affliction from our earthly existence, the result would not be to make
life delectable, but to make it too banal and trivial to be en-durable
(A Twentieth Century Testimony [Thomas Nelson], in Reader's Digest
[1/91], p. 158) By way of contrast, many have
allowed difficult trials to turn them away from God. For example, I
have read that media mogul, Ted Turner, grew up in a church-going
home. But when his sister died, Turner’s father grew bitter and turned
away from God. Ted Turner followed his father’s example.
Trials are a fact of life, but how we respond to them is our choice. I
do not know if Muggeridge was truly converted (Ed: As I have
read some of Muggeridge's writings one wonders - aren't we glad Jesus is the
final Judge!), but he seems to have grown better through his trials.
Turner, however, grew bitter. I grant that it is difficult to
understand how God can be both good and omnipotent, and yet allow the
horrible suffering that we see in the world. But to cease to believe
in God on account of suffering does not make God cease to exist, and
it does not resolve the problem. To “run with endurance the race that
is set before us” (Heb 12:1), we need to know how God wants us to
respond to His loving discipline. (Hebrews
12:7-11 Responding to God's Discipline)
Spurgeon asks "If affliction
seemed to be joyous, would it be a chastisement at all? I ask you,
would it not be a most ridiculous thing if a father should so
chasten a child that the child came away laughing, and smiling, and
rejoicing? Joyful? Instead of being at all serviceable, would it not
be utterly useless? What good could a chastisement have done if it
was not felt? It is the blows of the wound, says Solomon, that will
cleanse evil (Pr 20:30); and so if the chastisement do not come home
to the bone and flesh, what good end can it have served? It might
even work the other way and be hurtful, for if those very gentle
blows were enough, with one or two soft chiding words, to express
parental hatred of sin, the child would surely think that the parent
only played with it and that disobedience was a trifle. If only the
mockery of discipline were given, the child would be hardened in
sin, and even despise the authority that it ought to respect. If God
sent us trials such as we would wish for, they would be no trials."
[word study] from
chairo = to rejoice) refers to cheerfulness,
gladness, joy. It is that
feeling of inner gladness, delight
or rejoicing. Secular dictionaries define joy as the emotion
evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or the emotion evoked
by the prospect of possessing what one desires. The world's definition
of joy is therefore virtually synonymous with the definition of
happiness, for both "emotions" are dependent on what "happens".
59x in 57v - Matt 2:10; 13:20, 44; 25:21, 23; 28:8; Mark 4:16; Luke
1:14; 2:10; 8:13; 10:17; 15:7, 10; 24:41, 52; John 3:29; 15:11;
16:20ff, 24; 17:13; Acts 8:8; 12:14; 13:52; 15:3; Rom 14:17; 15:13,
32; 2 Cor 1:24; 2:3; 7:4, 13; 8:2; Gal 5:22; Phil 1:4, 25; 2:2, 29;
4:1; Col 1:11; 1 Thess 1:6; 2:19f; 3:9; 2 Tim 1:4; Philemon 1:7; Heb
10:34; 12:2, 11; 13:17; Jas 1:2; 4:9; 1 Pet 1:8; 1 John 1:4; 2 John
1:12; 3 John 1:4. NAS = greatly(1), joy(54), joyful(1),
joyfully(1), joyously(1), rejoicing(1).
is joy in human life, such as joy when one experiences a
victory (" We will sing for joy over your victory, and in the name
of our God we will set up our banners. May the LORD fulfill all your
petitions." Psalm 20:5
or reaps a bountiful harvest (see Isa 9:3), but more often the Bible
speaks of joy in a spiritual sense. For example, Nehemiah
declared to the down in the mouth (not very filled with joy) Jews that
"The joy of the Lord is
your strength." (Neh 8:10).
pleaded with God to "restore to me the
of Thy salvation." (Psalm 51:12
It is not
surprising that joy and rejoicing are found most
frequently in the Psalms (about 80 references) and the Gospels (Joy
= 38x in Psalms - Ps 5:11; 16:11; 20:5; 27:6; 30:5; 32:11;
33:1, 3; 35:27; 42:4; 43:4; 45:7; 47:1; 48:2; 51:8, 12; 63:7; 65:8,
13; 67:4; 71:23; 81:1; 84:2; 87:7; 89:12; 90:14; 92:4; 95:1; 96:12;
98:4, 8; 105:43; 119:111; 126:6; 132:9, 16; 137:6; 149:5; Rejoice,
rejoicing, etc - 43x in Psalms - Ps 2:11; 9:14; 13:4f; 14:7; 16:9;
19:5, 8; 21:1; 30:1; 31:7; 32:11; 33:21; 34:2; 35:9, 15, 19, 24, 26f;
38:16; 40:16; 45:15; 48:11; 51:8; 53:6; 58:10; 63:11; 65:12; 66:6;
68:3; 70:4; 85:6; 89:16, 42; 96:11; 97:1, 8; 106:5; 118:24; 119:14,
C. S. Lewis
got a bit closer to the Biblical meaning when he called joy an
“unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other
satisfaction.” That statement is a bit obtuse but Lewis then goes on
to add that joy "must be sharply distinguished both from happiness
and from pleasure". Ultimately Lewis' experienced joy when he
discovered that Jesus was the wellspring of all joy.
is the deep-down sense of well-being that abides in the heart of the
person who knows all is well between himself and the Lord. It is not
an experience that comes from favorable circumstances but even occurs
when those circumstances are the most painful and severe as Jesus
taught His disciples declaring "Truly, truly, I say to you, that
you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be
sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned to joy. Whenever a
woman is in travail she has sorrow, because her hour has come; but
when she gives birth to the child, she remembers the anguish no more,
for joy that a child has been born into the world. Therefore
you too now have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart will
rejoice, and no one takes your joy away from you. (John
16:20, 21, 22)
the Resident Source of joy within for as as Paul teaches "the fruit of the Spirit is
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness
Comment: Remember that like any "garden", fruit needs to be
diligently, carefully cultivated. Fertilize with nutrients (Take in
the pure Word like a new born babe - 1Pe 2:2-note,
Mt 4:4). Water regularly (with the Word - cp Ep 5:26-note,
cp Jn 13:10). Pull the "corrupting" weeds (of sin, which stunts our
desire for the Word, 1Pe 2:1-note).
How are you tending your
fluctuations cannot disturb this Source of joy. Note Paul’s statement
of this confidence (Php 3:20-note).
- see related verb
lupeo) refers to sadness, grief,
grievous, heaviness, sorrow. In context lupe speaks of pain, which
could be of body but especially of one's mind as one experiences
severe mental or emotional distress associated with the discipline of
16x in 14v - Luke 22:45; John 16:6, 20ff; Rom 9:2; 2 Cor 2:1, 3, 7;
7:10; 9:7; Phil 2:27; Heb 12:11; 1 Pet 2:19. NAS =
grief(2), grudgingly*(1), pain(1), sorrow(10), sorrowful(1),
comments on sorrowful - To the flesh which judges by what
is present and by sense, it is distinctly, often terribly, grievous,
Faith which lives in the future and unseen, rejoices in the assurance
not only of deliverance, but of the heavenly blessing it brings. (The
Holiest of All - Yet Afterward)
Jamieson - The objection that chastening is
grievous is here anticipated and answered. It only seems so to those
being chastened, whose judgments are confused by the present pain. Its
ultimate fruit amply compensates for any temporary pain. The real
object of the fathers in chastening is not that they find pleasure in
the children's pain. Gratified wishes, our Father knows, would often
be our real curses.
McGee - This is like the boy whose father
said to him before he whipped him, "Son, this is going to hurt me more
than it hurts you." The boy said, "Yes, Dad, but not in the same
place." God chastens His children. He does not get any particular joy
out of it, but He does it because you and I need it. Not only does
chastening not seem to be joyous, it isn't joyous, but grievous --
that is our experience. Although no chastening at the time is
fun, "afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto
them which are exercised thereby." God does not discipline you without
Adam Clarke - Neither correction, wholesome
restraint, domestic regulations, nor gymnastic discipline, are
pleasant to them that are thus exercised; but it is by these means
that obedient children, scholars, and great men are made. And it is by
God's discipline that Christians are made. He who does not bear the
yoke of Christ is good for nothing to others, and never gains rest to
his own soul.
Barnes - does not impart pleasure, nor is
this its design. All chastisement is intended to produce pain, and the
Christian is as sensitive to pain as others. His religion does not
blunt his sensibilities, and make him a stoic, but it rather increases
his susceptibility to suffering... the Christian feels the loss of a
child, or bodily suffering, as keenly as any one. But while religion
does not render him insensible to suffering, it does two things—(1.)
it enables him to bear the pain without murmuring, and (2.) it turns
the affliction into a blessing on his soul.
G. Campbell Morgan once wrote that "We cry too often to be delivered
from the punishment, instead of the sin that lies behind it. We are
anxious to escape from the things that cause us pain rather than from
the things that cause God pain."
promises a safe landing,
not smooth sailing.
YET TO THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN TRAINED
BY IT: de karpon eirenikon tois di autes
gegumnasmenois (RPPMPD) apodidosin (3SPAI) dikaiosunes:
(yet - Heb 12:5, 6, 10)
- Another strategic (and in this case merciful and grace filled)
term of contrast!
Present...yet...afterwards - Andrew Murray observes that
"These two expressions contain the
great contrast between time and eternity, of the visible and the
invisible, of sorrow and of joy, of sense and of faith, of backsliding
and of progress to perfection...Yet...afterwards: to throw
eternity into the balance, and judge everything by that: this is what
even the patriarchs did; this is what Christ taught us, when, for the
joy set before Him, He endured the cross; this is what faith can teach
us in every trial. (The
Holiest of All - Yet Afterward)
or gymnazo from from gumnos = naked or minimally clothed
and descriptive of the common practice of males in the Greco Roman
gymnasia source of English gymnasium, gymnastics) literally meant
to exercise naked in the
palaestra (a school in ancient Greece or Rome
for sports -
see a picture of the palaestra). Vine says it means to “to strive with the body stripped”
Gumnazo - 4x in 4v - 1Ti
He 12:11; 2Pe 2:14-note.
NAS = discipline(1), trained(3).
Gumnazo means to exercise
bodily and described an athlete exercising in the gym. Figuratively
gumnazo means to exercise so as to discipline oneself (in the
moral or ethical "gym") or to exercise vigorously, in any way, either
the body or the mind. It describes the rigorous, strenuous,
self-sacrificing training an athlete undergoes.
is in the
indicating a past completed action with ongoing effect and thus
speaks of the permanence of their state of training.
The Jewish historian Josephus
uses gymnazo in his description of the Roman soldier writing
that "their military exercises differ not
at all from the real use of their arms, but every soldier is every day
exercised (gymnazo), and that with great diligence, as
if it were in time of war which is the reason why they bear the
fatigue of battles so easily." (Josephus, F. The Works of Josephus.
Paul uses gymnazo in his
first epistle to Timothy drawing on the athletic metaphor
to exhort his young disciple to...
"have nothing to do with
(continually refuse, shun, reject) worldly (profane in contrast to
sacred, void of piety, opposite of holy that which is set apart to
God) fables (myths) fit only for old women. On the other hand,
discipline (gymnazo =
calls for rigorous,
strenuous, self-sacrificing training like an athlete) yourself for the
purpose of godliness (NIV = "train yourself to be godly") for bodily
discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for
all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for
the life to come." (see notes
Consider the following testimony by
C. H. Spurgeon: I am afraid that all the grace I
have got out of my comfortable and easy times and happy hours might
almost lie on a penny. But the good that I have received from my
sorrows and pains and griefs is altogether incalculable. What do I not
owe to the hammer and the anvil, the fire and the file? Affliction is
the best bit of furniture in my house.
J C Ryle...
Affliction is one of God's medicines!
By it He often teaches lessons which would be learned in no other way.
By it He often draws souls away from sin and the world, which would
otherwise have perished everlastingly.
Health is a great blessing—but sanctified disease is a greater.
Prosperity and worldly comfort, are what all naturally desire—but
losses and crosses are far better for us—if they lead us to Christ.
Let us beware of murmuring in the time of trouble.
Let us settle it firmly in our minds, that there is a meaning, a
'needs be', and a message from God—in every sorrow that falls upon us.
There are no lessons so useful as those learned in the school of
There is no commentary that opens up the Bible so much as sickness and
The resurrection morning will prove, that many of the losses of God's
people were in reality, eternal gains.
"God disciplines us for our profit." Hebrews 12:10 What profit is in
affliction? Afflictions are disciplinary. Afflictions teach
us—they are the school of the cross.
Affliction shows us more of our own hearts. Water in a glass looks
clear—but set it on the fire, and the scum boils up. Just so, when God
sets us upon the fire—corruption boils up which we did not discern
before. Sharp afflictions are to the soul, as a soaking rain to the
house; we do not know that there are holes in the roof until the
shower comes—but then we see it drop down here and there. Just so, we
do not know what unmortified lusts are in the soul, until the storm of
affliction comes—then the hidden evils of the heart come dropping down
in many places. Affliction is a sacred eye-salve, it clears our
eye-sight. Thus the rod gives wisdom.
Affliction quickens the spirit of prayer. Jonah was asleep in the
ship—but at prayer in the whale's belly. Perhaps in a time of health
and prosperity we prayed in a cold and formal manner, we put no coals
to the incense. Then God sends some affliction or other—to stir us up
to take hold of Him. "They poured out a prayer—when Your chastening
was upon them." Isaiah 26:16. In times of trouble we pray feelingly
Affliction is a means to purge out our sins. Affliction cures the
pestilence of pride—and the fever of lust. Affliction is God's file—to
scrub off our rust. Affliction is God's flail—to thresh off our husks.
The water of affliction is not to drown us—but to wash off our spots.
Affliction is a means to wean us the world. The world often proves,
not only a spider's web—but a cockatrice egg. Corrupting worldly
things, are great enchantments. They hinder us in our passage to
heaven. Affliction sounds a retreat, to call us off the immoderate
pursuit of earthly things. When two things are frozen together—the
best way to separate them is by fire; so, when the heart and the world
are together—God has no better way to separate them than by the fire
Affliction is a means to purify us. It works us up to further degrees
of sanctity. "God disciplines us for our profit—that we may share in
His holiness." Hebrews 12:10.The vessels of mercy are the brighter for
scouring. As you pour water on your linen when you would whiten it—so
God pours the waters of affliction upon us to whiten our souls.
Afflictions are in themselves bitter—but they bring forth the sweet
fruits of righteousness. Hebrews 12:11.
IT YIELDS THE PEACEFUL FRUIT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS: de karpon eirenikon tois di autes gegumnasmenois (RPPMPD)
apodidosin (3SPAI) dikaiosunes: (Psalms 119:165; Isaiah 32:17;
Romans 5:3, 4, 5; 14:17; 2Cor 4:17; Gal 5:22,23; Jas 3:17,18 )
C. S. Lewis
- God whispers to us in our
pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is
His megaphone to arouse a deaf world.
- A man takes a mass of metal. It appears to you very pure, and very
beautiful to look at. It is alloyed. He puts it into his refining
pot, he heats the coals, and he begins to stir it. You say to him,
“What are you doing? You are spoiling that precious metal. See how
foul the surface is! What a scum floats up.” The natural effect of
the fire is to make the scum show itself. A skillful hand is needed,
for the fire cannot do the refiner’s work. He himself must skim the
base metal off the top. Affliction only makes the sin rise to the
surface. It makes the devil in us come up; it makes us, while we are
boiling in affliction, worse than we were before. It is the
supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, and of our blessed Lord and
Master, when He sees it on the top, then to skim it off. The
affliction does not do us any good in itself; the natural fruit of
affliction is rebellion. If God chastens me, can I love Him for
that? Not naturally. If He strikes me, can I yield Him homage for
that? No, naturally I rebel against Him, and I say, “Who are you
that you should smite me this way, and what have I done that I
should be tormented by you?” To kiss the hand that smites is
something more than nature; it is grace.
from husteros = later) means more lately or eventually.
- 12x in 12v - Matt 4:2; 21:29, 32, 37; 22:27; 25:11; 26:60; Mark
16:14; Luke 20:32; John 13:36; 1 Tim 4:1; Heb 12:11. NAS =-
afterward(4), afterwards(1), last(1), later(3).
Barnes - The effect (of discipline) is seen
in a pure life, and in a more entire devotedness to God. We are not to
look for the proper fruits of affliction while we are suffering, but
from apó = from +
didomi = give) means to pay or give
back. It refers to fulfilling an obligation or expectation. In
the present verse it means to return, render or yield. It was used to
refer to land yield fruit 200 fold.
- 48x in 46v - Matt 5:26, 33; 6:4, 6, 18; 12:36; 16:27; 18:25f, 28ff,
34; 20:8; 21:41; 22:21; 27:58; Mark 12:17; Luke 4:20; 7:42; 9:42;
10:35; 12:59; 16:2; 19:8; 20:25; Acts 4:33; 5:8; 7:9; 19:40; Rom 2:6;
12:17; 13:7; 1 Cor 7:3; 1 Thess 5:15; 1 Tim 5:4; 2 Tim 4:8, 14; Heb
12:11, 16; 13:17; 1 Pet 3:9; 4:5; Rev 18:6; 22:2, 12. NAS =
account*(1), award(1), fulfill(2), gave...back(2), give(4), give
back(1), given(1), giving(1), make some return(1), must(1), paid(3),
pay(2), pay...back(1), pay back(3), render(6), repay(8), repayment to
be made(1), repays(1), returning(1), reward(3), sold(3), yielding(1),
speaks of the fruit of righteousness that comes from times of testing
- Do this now. Don't vacillate. Understanding it's great value
esteem) it all joy, my brethren,
when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your
faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result,
that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (Jas
1:2, 3, 4-note)
describes this yield of fruit encouraging his tested readers that - In this you greatly rejoice, even
though now for a little while (HOW
LONG?), if necessary (WHY?
- see Heb 12:5-11), you have been distressed
by various ("multi-colored" - but same word is used of grace in 1Pe
- just the right "color" of grace for the "color" of trial you are
experiencing!) trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious
than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be
found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of
Jesus Christ (1Pe 1:6,7-notes)
voices a similar thought in Romans 5 - And not only this, but we also
exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about
perseverance and perseverance, proven character; and proven character,
hope and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been
poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to
us. (Ro 5:3, 4-see notes
eirene [word study]
= peace) pertains to being
conducive to a harmonious relationship. Discipline in the believer's
life brings peace in contrast to war.
comments that regarding peaceful fruit of righteousness "the light of eternity and its
reward shines on the least as on the greatest of our trials, and makes
each one the seed of an everlasting harvest, of which we pluck the
fruits even here. And so light arises upon the command, Count it
all joy when ye fall into manifold temptations. (Jas 1:2-note)
We read it in the light of what Paul said of himself, As sorrowful,
yet always rejoicing. (2Co 6:10) When the hurricane is sweeping
the ocean into mountain-high waves, down in the deep waters all is
serene and quiet—the disturbance is only on the surface. And even so
the joy of eternity can keep a soul in perfect peace amid
abounding afflictions. For the present is swallowed up in the
yet...afterwards of a living faith. (The
Holiest of All - Yet Afterward)
is used in its literal sense to
refer to fruit, produce or offspring, which describes that which is
produced by the inherent energy of a living organism. Karpos is
what something naturally produces. Figuratively, karpos is used
of the consequence of physical, mental, or spiritual action. In the NT
the figurative (metaphorical) uses metaphorical uses predominate and
this is particularly true in the Gospels, where human actions and
words are viewed as fruit growing out of a person's essential being or
Righteous (right) conduct is the
soil out of which grows the calming fruit of "peace",
especially the peace of God, resulting in a clear conscience and a
sense of oneness, communion and unbroken/unhindered fellowship of the
creature with his or her Creator.
Spurgeon - Affliction really does to the Christian, when the
time comes, bring forth fruit. This is the object of Christ
in sending it. In His sweet prayer for the elect, He prayed that His
people might bring forth fruit. He said, “My Father is glorified by
this: that you bear much fruit, and prove to be my disciples” (John
15:8). He assured them that every branch of the true vine that
brought forth fruit would be purged, that it might bring forth more
fruit. So far as this world is concerned, God gets His glory out of
us, not by our being Christians, but by our being fruitful
Karpos refers to that which originates or comes from something
producing an effect or result (benefit, advantage, profit, utility).
Karpos - 67x in 57v - Matt 3:8,
10; 7:16ff; 12:33; 13:8, 26; 21:19, 34, 41, 43; Mark 4:7f, 29; 11:14;
12:2; Luke 1:42; 3:8f; 6:43f; 8:8; 12:17; 13:6f, 9; 20:10; John 4:36;
12:24; 15:2, 4f, 8, 16; Acts 2:30; Rom 1:13; 6:21f; 15:28; 1 Cor 9:7;
Gal 5:22; Eph 5:9; Phil 1:11, 22; 4:17; 2 Tim 2:6; 4:13; Heb 12:11;
13:15; Jas 3:17f; 5:7, 18; Rev 22:2. NAS - benefit(2), crop(5),
crops(2), descendants*(1), fruit(43), fruitful(1), fruits(4),
grain(1), harvest(1), proceeds(1), produce(4), profit(1).
E Vine has an excellent summary of karpos:
Karpos frequently in the New
Testament in its natural sense of that which is produced by the
inherent energy of a living organism, Mt 13:8, and also, in a
derived sense, of the result, in the spiritual and moral sphere,
of the energy of the Holy Spirit operating in those who through faith
are brought into living union with Christ, Jn 15:4, 5.
Fruit is thus the outward
expression of power working inwardly, and so in itself beyond
observation, the character of the fruit giving evidence of the
character of the power that produces it, Mt 7:16. As lust
manifests itself in works, the restless and disorderly activities of
the flesh, or principle of evil, in man, so the Spirit manifests His
presence in His “peaceable,” Heb 12:11, and orderly fruit.
In this connection fruit
presents an advance upon “works.” “Works” gives prominence to the
notion of activity; fruit directs attention to the power that
Fruit is also used by the
apostle Paul of the converts resulting from his ministry, Php
1:22-note; and of the manifestation of the character of Christ in the lives
of believers in consequence of his ministry of the Word among them,
Ro 1:13-note; and of the care of the believers for the poor, for this
is the fruit, or outward expression, of love, attesting its reality,
Ro 15:28-note; and of the care of laborers in the gospel, for this is
the fruit, or outward expression, of thankfulness to God for spiritual
blessings enjoyed, attesting its reality, Php 4:17-note.
The singular form, fruit, is
used here perhaps to suggest the unity and harmony of the character of
the Lord Jesus which is to be reproduced in the believer by the power
of the Holy Spirit, in contrast with the discordant and often mutually
antagonistic “works of the flesh.” In Christ actually, and in the
Christian potentially, the fruit of the Spirit is harmonious, the
various elements being mutually consistent, and each encouraging and
enhancing the rest in happy coordination and cooperation in that “new
man, which after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness
of truth,” Eph 4:24-note
W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson
dikaios [word study]
= just, righteous = root idea of conforming to a standard or norm) is
derived from a root word that means straightness. It refers to a state
that conforms to an authoritative standard or norm and so is in
keeping with what God is in His holy character.
the believer's life brings a desire to do what is right before the
Father, to please Him. Right living (toward God first, then toward
man) is the "fruit" which chastening yields, especially to the yielded
- 92x in 86v - Matt 3:15; 5:6, 10, 20; 6:1, 33; 21:32; Luke 1:75; John
16:8, 10; Acts 10:35; 13:10; 17:31; 24:25; Rom 1:17; 3:5, 21f, 25f;
4:3, 5f, 9, 11, 13, 22; 5:17, 21; 6:13, 16, 18ff; 8:10; 9:30f; 10:3ff,
10; 14:17; 1 Cor 1:30; 2 Cor 3:9; 5:21; 6:7, 14; 9:9f; 11:15; Gal
2:21; 3:6, 21; 5:5; Eph 4:24; 5:9; 6:14; Phil 1:11; 3:6, 9; 1 Tim
6:11; 2 Tim 2:22; 3:16; 4:8; Titus 3:5; Heb 1:9; 5:13; 7:2; 11:7, 33;
12:11; Jas 1:20; 2:23; 3:18; 1 Pet 2:24; 3:14; 2 Pet 1:1; 2:5, 21;
3:13; 1 John 2:29; 3:7, 10; Rev 19:11; 22:11. NAS = right(1),
is a moral concept. God’s character is the definition and source of
all righteousness. God is totally righteous because He is totally as
He should be. The righteousness of human beings is defined in terms of
God’s. Righteousness in Biblical terms describes the righteousness
acceptable to God and thus which is in keeping with what God is in His
holy character. Rightness means to be as something or someone should
be. In short, the righteousness of God is all that God is, all that He
commands, all that He demands, all that He approves and all that He
provides (through faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ, the perfectly
only comes through enduring hardship as discipline. It does not come
through fighting the hard things in life, but from accepting them as
discipline from God.
Tertullian - Oh, happy the servant for whose
improvement his Lord is earnest, with whom he deigns to be angry, whom
He does not deceive by dissembling admonition" (withholding
admonition, and so leading the man to think he needs it not)!
Barnes writes that
discipline "is a tree that bears good fruit and we do not expect the fruit to form
and ripen at once. It may be long maturing, but it will be rich and
mellow when it is ripe. It frequently requires a long time before all
the results of affliction appear-as it requires months to form and
ripen fruit. Like fruit it may appear at first sour, crabbed, and
unpalatable; but it will be at last like the ruddy peach or the golden
orange. When those fruits are ripened they are (1.) fruits
"of righteousness." They make us more holy, more dead to sin and
the world, and more alive to God. And they are (2.) "peaceable."
They produce peace, calmness, submission in the soul. They make the
heart more tranquil in its confidence in God, and more disposed to
promote the religion of peace. The apostle speaks of this as if it
were a universal truth in regard to Christians who are afflicted. And
it is so, There is no Christian who is not ultimately benefited by
trials, and who is not able at some period subsequently to say, "It
was good for me that I was afflicted. Before I was afflicted I went
astray; but now have I kept thy word." When a Christian comes to die,
he does not feel that he has had one trial too many, or one which he
did not deserve. He can then look back and see the effect of some
early trial, so severe that he once thought he could hardly endure it,
spreading a hallowed influence over his future years, and scattering
its golden fruit all along the pathway of life. I have never known a
Christian who was not benefited by afflictions; I have seen none who
was not able to say that his trials produced some happy effect on his
religious character, and on his real happiness in life. If this be so,
then no matter how severe our trials, we should submit to them without
a murmur. The more severe they are, the more we shall yet be
blessed-on earth or in heaven.
What does discipline do?
Hardships will do one of two things to us. They will distract our
focus from Christ, forcing us into a spiritual lapse so that we are
slowed down, or even drop out of the race (which is why he addresses
this issue in He 12:12, 13-note)
Or they will intensify our focus on Christ,
In sum we are called to not regard God's hand of discipline lightly
neither to faint but to accept it because
• Discipline proves that God is
our Father and we are his children!
• Discipline makes us live life that is life indeed (cp
• Discipline makes us like God—holy!
• Though there is pain now, later it produces a harvest of
righteousness and peace!
This is why we must keep our eyes on Jesus
Heb 12:3-note) and keep running
Spurgeon - Let me ask those who are afflicted and have no
religion where they get their comfort from. The Christian derives it
from the fact that he is a son of God, and he knows that the
affliction is for his good. Where do you get comfort from? It has
often puzzled me how poor tried worldly people get on. I can
somewhat guess how they can be happy when the glass is full, when
hearts are glad and joyous, when hilarity and mirth sparkle in their
eyes, when the board is covered and the family is well. But what
does the worldly man do when he loses his wife, when his children
are taken away, when his health departs and he himself is near
death? I leave him to answer. All I can say is, I wonder every day
that there are not more suicides, considering the troubles of this
life, and how few there are who have the comforts of religion. Poor
sinner, even if there were no heaven and hell, I would recommend to
you this religion. For even if in this life only we had hope, we
should be of all men most happy, really, in our spirits, although we
might seem to be “of all people most pitiable” (1Cor 15:19). I tell
you, if we were to die like dogs, if there were no second world, so
happy does the Christian religion make the heart that it would be
worthwhile having it for this life alone. The secularist who thinks
of this world only is a fool for not thinking of Christianity, for
it confers a benefit in this world as well as in that which is to
come. It makes us bear our troubles. What would break your backs are
only feathers to us; what would destroy your spirits are to us
“momentary light afflictions” (2Cor 4:17). We find light enough in
our hearts in the depth of darkness. Where you find darkness, we
have light, and where you have light, we have the brilliance of the
sun. May God put you in the number of His saved family, and then if
He chastens you, I ask whether you will not think His rod light when
compared with the sword that you deserve to have smitten you dead.
God grant you, if you are chastened now, that you may be chastened
and not killed, that you may be chastened with the righteous and not
condemned with the wicked.
Pastor Steven Cole makes the
We should submit to the Father’s
discipline because although it is difficult for the present, it yields
the peaceful fruit of righteousness to all that are trained by it
The author makes three points in Heb 12:11:
A. All discipline seems
difficult for the present.
Discipline seems-to our limited, time-bound perspective-not to be
joyful, but sorrowful. I am glad that the Bible acknowledges that
fact! God’s discipline is not easy or pleasant. It is not wrong to cry
out loudly to God or to weep when you’re going through a difficult
trial, because Jesus did that very thing (Heb. 5:7-note).
The psalms show us that it is okay to bare our sorrows and grief to
the Lord, as long as we do it with a submissive spirit. God gave us
tear ducts for a reason!
I’ve shared with you before that on my 36th birthday, I had to conduct
a funeral for a 39-year-old man who died of cancer, leaving a widow
and two children. Two years later, I conducted the funeral for his
wife, who also died of cancer. But after his funeral, as I was
consoling his wife, her former bounded up with a silly grin on his
face and said, “Praise the Lord, Scott’s in glory now!” I felt like
punching him! I thought, “Let her weep!”
But, how does weeping fit with the Bible’s command, “Rejoice always”
That command does not mean that we always go around with a smile on
our face, saying, “Praise the Lord,” even when we’re hurting. It does
not mean saying that you feel great when you don’t, which is
hypocrisy. Even Jesus admitted, “My soul is deeply grieved to the
point of death” (Mark 14:34). It’s not a contradiction that the
shortest verse in the Greek New Testament is, “Rejoice always,”
whereas the shortest verse in the English New Testament is, “Jesus
wept” (John 11:35)!
The key is, in the midst of the trials and the tears, to focus on the
goal: the peaceful fruit of righteousness. If we keep in mind what God
is doing in light of eternity, then we can endure with inner joy and
peace, while at the same time admitting the pain and sorrow. As Paul
wrote (2Cor 6:10), though we are sorrowful, we are yet always
rejoicing, knowing that God is for us and that He is working all our
trials together for our good (Ro 8:28-note,
Ro 8:29, 30-note,
Ro 8:31, 32, 33-note,
Ro 8:34, 35, 36-note).
B. All discipline is
designed to produce the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
The phrase means, “the peaceful fruit that consists in righteousness.”
“Righteousness” (Heb 12:11) is synonymous with “holiness” (Heb 12:10).
Both terms mean godliness or conformity to Jesus Christ, who is the
embodiment of godliness (Ro 8:29-note).
He shows us what it means to be a righteous person in thought, word,
and deed. True holiness or righteousness is not just external, but
begins at the heart or thought level. A truly righteous person has
godly motives. He seeks to glorify God in everything.
Righteousness and peace always go together. You cannot have true
righteousness without peace, or true peace without righteousness. I
emphasize true because sometimes people mistake relief from trials as
God’s peace, even though they disobeyed God to gain that relief. A
Christian brother once told me, with a peaceful smile on his face,
that God had told him to divorce his wife, and that he felt such a
peace in his heart since he made that decision! It took me several
hours to convince him that he was not feeling God’s peace, because his
decision was not righteous. He was only feeling relief at the thought
of getting away from a woman who, I admit, was not pleasant to live
God’s discipline produces the peaceful fruit of righteousness in
many ways. Here are seven:
(1) God’s discipline produces
the peaceful fruit of righteousness by teaching us the terrible
devastation caused by sin.
When David sinned with Bathsheba and murdered her husband, the Lord
forgave his sin, but He also took the life of the son that they
conceived. Also, the Lord raised up evil against David from within his
own household (2Sa 12:11). His son Amnon raped his half-sister, Tamar.
Tamar’s brother, Absalom, murdered Amnon and later led a rebellion
against David. By letting us suffer such painful consequences for our
sin, God teaches us that sin causes devastation and death, so that we
will flee from it when we are tempted.
(2) God’s discipline produces the peaceful fruit of righteousness
by stripping us of self-righteousness, self-sufficiency, and pride.
By nature, we all have the tendency to think, “Others may commit
terrible sins, but I could never do such a thing!” Peter thought that
the other apostles might deny Jesus, but not trust-worthy old Peter
(Mark 14:29, 30)! The Lord had to show Peter that his heart was just
as prone to sin as everyone else’s heart
The Lord burdened Paul excessively, beyond his strength, so that he
despaired even of life. The reason, Paul said, was “so that we would
not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead” (2Co 1:8, 9).
We’re all prone to trust in ourselves, rather than in the Lord. It is
wise to have a prudent savings plan, but if we trust in our savings,
God has ways of wiping out our accounts. It is wise to eat well and to
exercise regularly, but if we’re trusting in those things to preserve
our lives, God has ways of bringing sickness or injury to teach us
that we depend on Him for our next breath and for every day’s supply
of food and water.
(3) God’s discipline produces the peaceful fruit of righteousness
by helping us shift our focus from this life to eternity.
By nature, we’re all too focused on this life, in spite of the fact
that life is a vapor (Jas 4:14). Paul says that the obvious fact
(which we all try to ignore!) that our bodies are wearing out should
make us shift our focus to eternity. He wrote, “though our outer man
is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.” He goes
on to say that we look at the unseen, eternal things, not at the
things we see on this earth (2Co 4:16, 17, 18).
(4) God’s discipline produces the peaceful fruit of righteousness
by uncovering hidden sins and blind spots.
Sometimes we are unaware of our sins or shortcomings until God brings
some trial that exposes them. The psalmist testified,
“Before I was afflicted I went
astray, but now I keep Your word” (Ps 119:67).
There is no indication that he was
openly rebellious before he was afflicted. Rather, the affliction made
him aware of hidden sins that he had not seen before.
Paul had an amazing vision of heaven. Although he was a humble man,
the danger was that this vision would puff him up with pride. So the
Lord sent a messenger of Satan, a thorn in the flesh, to keep Paul
from exalting himself (2Cor 12:7). Whatever that thorn was (some think
a physical ailment; others think that it was the Judaizers, who
plagued his ministry), it kept Paul from falling into the sin of pride
over his heavenly vision.
(5) God’s discipline produces the peaceful fruit of righteousness
by strengthening our faith and driving us closer to Christ.
Through his thorn in the flesh, Paul learned to trust Christ in ways
that he had not done before. He learned the sufficiency of God’s grace
and strength in the face of his painful weaknesses (2Co 12:9-note; ,
Adversity has a way of causing us to lean on the Lord in ways that we
don’t need to when times are trouble-free.
(6) God’s discipline produces the peaceful fruit of righteousness
by developing compassion and humility.
Sometimes we look down on others who are suffering. We arrogantly
think, “If they would just get it together [like me!], they would
avoid all these problems!” Then God sends affliction to us. Suddenly,
we have more compassion for those who suffer. We lose our proud
judgmental spirit and grow in sympathy.
(7) God’s discipline produces the peaceful fruit of righteousness
by developing the fruit of the Spirit in us and thus making us more
usable in His service.
Fruit grows best on vines that are
pruned (Jn 15:2). The fruit of the Spirit grows in hearts that have
submitted to the pruning of God’s discipline. The fact that
righteousness is a fruit shows that it takes time to grow. We have
instant coffee and instant photocopies and instant just about
anything. But so far, no one has come up with instant fruit! It grows
slowly but surely in our lives as we submit to God’s discipline.
Thus, all discipline seems difficult for the moment, but it is
designed to produce the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Finally,
C. For discipline to be
effective, we must submit to the training process.
To benefit by God’s discipline, we must be “trained” by it. The Greek
word (gymnazo; we get gymnasium from it) indicates physical
training or exercise. It meant, literally, to strip naked. There were
two images behind the word. First, as we have seen (Heb 12:1-note),
an athlete has to strip himself of all needless weights or
en-cumbrances that would hinder him from running well.
Also, the ancient Greeks, like modern Americans, were enamored by the
perfect body. An athlete would strip before his trainer, who would
determine which muscles the athlete needed to develop. The trainer
would develop a regimen for the athlete to build up the muscles that
were lacking, to perfect his physique. But, of course, the athlete
then had to submit to the training regimen to benefit from it.
God is the perfect spiritual trainer. He knows where each of us is
lacking and what we need to develop the spiritual muscle to run well.
But we have to submit to the program that He prescribes for us. If we
dodge the training, we will pay later by being defeated by temptation
Maybe you’re wondering, “If all
trials are God’s discipline, de-signed to make us holy, is it wrong to
seek to get out from under them? Is it wrong to go to the doctor when
we’re ill? Is it wrong to try to get a better job? Is it wrong to try
to resolve problems that irritate us? Why not just submit to them, if
they are designed for our good?”
The answer is, it depends on our attitude toward the Lord in the
trial. Is my heart in submission to the heavenly Father? Am I relating
each trial to His providential love for me, trying to learn the
lessons that He intends? Am I willing to accept His will if it does
not coincide with my will?
As you know, Jesus in the Garden, prayed, “Father, if You are willing,
remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Lk
22:42). Three times Paul asked God to remove his thorn in the flesh,
but when God told Paul that His grace was sufficient, Paul was content
to live with the distress (2Co 12:8, 9-note,
David was wrong to go into battle against Israel with the Philistine
king. God allowed the Amalekites to raid the city where the families
of David and his men lived, to burn it to the ground, and to take all
of their wives and children captive. Even David’s men threatened to
stone him. “But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” We
see his submission to God’s discipline in that he did not assume that
he should go after the enemy and re-cover his family and possessions.
Rather, he asked God whether he should pursue them. Only after the
Lord granted permission did David go after them and recover everything
(see 1Sa 30:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8).
So in every trial,
whether major or minor, stop and examine your heart.
Are you truly in submission to
Are you seeking to learn and
grow in holiness through the trial?
If so, it is not wrong to ask the
Father to remove it, if it’s His will, and to take steps to resolve
the problem. Often, In His grace and love, He will remove it. But,
sometimes, He says, “My grace is sufficient for you.” (2Co 12:9-note).
When He does, we have to trust that He is our loving Father who has
our good in view. If we submit to Him, He will produce the peaceful
fruit of righteousness in us. (Hebrews
12:7-11 Responding to God's Discipline)
(Steven Cole's sermon
manuscripts are highly recommended
Click for Pastor Cole's Sermons
STORIES OF MEN AND WOMEN WHO CAME
TO BE PARTAKERS OF THE HOLINESS OF GOD & THE PEACEFUL FRUIT OF
Bertha Stanley was born in Kansas in 1889. At college, Bertha became
involved in the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions. There
she met Roy Byram. After graduating and getting married, they both
entered medical school in Houston, Texas.
Then in 1921, the Byrams went as
missionaries to North Korea where Roy started a hospital. Each year
country women would come to the Bible school in North Korea where
Bertha Byram taught a two month course on the Christian life. In 1935,
the Byrams moved to Manchuria, which was under Japanese rule. They
started a new work under the Bible Presbyterian Mission Board, opening
a clinic in an area devoid of any hospital or church.
Then the Japanese arrested the
Byrams, and threw them into prison.Their cells were ice cold, and they
were fed pig food. But prison became a school for the Byrams. With not
even a Bible, they learned to pray as never before.
Dr. and Mrs. Roy Byram and the
Rev. Bruce Hunt stood as prisoners in the civil court. All day long
they were questioned."What does the Bible teach about the coming King
who you say will rule the whole earth?
Where will Japan be in the
set-up?" They were curious to know what the Bible said. The judge
acquitted them for lack of evidence. The Byrams were repatriated in a
trade of Japanese prisoners for American prisoners. Thereafter, Bertha
Byram spent a week each year in prayer and fasting, living on "prison
fare." Prison had schooled her well for she became a woman of prayer.
She said that in the years after returning to the U.S. she
accomplished more missionary work by prayer than she had on the
mission field. Plead with God for unreached peoples.
ANOTHER PLACE, ANOTHER TIME, THE SAME GOD - Etty Hillesum was a young Jewish
woman living in Amsterdam in 1942. During that time, the Nazis were
arresting Jews and herding them off to concentration camps. As she
awaited inevitable arrest, and with a fear of the unknown, she began
to read the Bible--and met Jesus. She simply put her hand in God's
hand and found rare courage and confidence.
Etty wrote in her diary:
"From all sides our destruction
creeps up on us and soon the ring will be closed and no one at all
will be able to come to our aid. But I don't feel that I am in
anybody's clutches. I feel safe in God's arms. And whether I am
sitting at my beloved old desk in the Jewish district or in a labor
camp under SS guards, I shall feel safe in God's arms. For once you
have begun to walk with God, you need only keep on walking with Him,
and all of life becomes one long stroll."
Etty was a living, courageous
picture of the psalmist's declaration:
When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in Thee.
In God, whose word I praise,
In God I have put my trust;
I shall not be afraid.
What can mere man do to me? (Ps 56:3, 4).
What a challenge for anyone
plagued by fear!
As we sense the strength of God's everlasting arms beneath us
(Dt 33:27), we can stroll through life with confidence, holding the
hand of our unseen Companion.
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Tough Love -
In our city's largest public
school district, any student who gets caught with a weapon or drugs on
campus faces mandatory expulsion. The director of discipline can expel
a student immediately. But he also frequently takes the offender
through an intense 90-minute session designed to force the student to
come to grips with his destructive behavior. Many young adults,
looking back, have said that without the director's confrontation they
would have ended up in jail.
Discipline! No one likes it, but we all need it. And because God loves
us as His children, He never skimps on our spiritual training. Instead
of a quick slap on the wrist, our correction may include the agonizing
experience of being confronted with who we are and why we behave the
way we do. Hebrews 12 summarizes the process with refreshing honesty:
"No chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful;
nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness
to those who have been trained by it" (He 12:11).
We are told not to despise the Lord's chastening and not to be
discouraged when He rebukes us, because it all flows from His love
(He 12:5, 6). Without God's tough love, where would we be today? —David C. McCasland (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Because our Father's heart is grieved
Each time we go astray,
He lifts His chastening hand in love
To help us choose His way. —D. De Haan
God is never cruel in His correction.
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No Pain, No Gain - Christian educator and author
Howard Hendricks cautions parents not to bribe or threaten their
children to get them to obey. What they need is firm, loving, and at
times painful discipline.
Hendricks recalls being in a home where a bright-eyed grade-schooler
sat across the table from him.
"Sally, eat your potatoes," said her mother in a proper parental tone.
"Sally, if you don't eat your potatoes, you won't get any dessert!"
Sally winked at Hendricks. Sure enough, mother removed the potatoes
and brought Sally some ice cream. He saw this as a case of parents
obeying their children rather than "Children, obey your parents"
Many parents are afraid to do what they know is best for their
youngsters. They're afraid their children will turn against them and
think they don't love them. Hendricks says, "Your primary concern is
not what they think of you now, but what they will think 20 years from
Even our loving heavenly Father's correction is painful, yet afterward
(perhaps years later) "it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness
in those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:11). As loving
parents, dare we have less long-term vision than our heavenly Father
has? —Joanie Yoder (Ibid)
As parents we must have this goal:
To teach our children self-control;
For firm and loving discipline
Can keep them from the ways of sin. —D. De Haan
The surest way to make life hard for your children is to make it soft
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Pain And Gain - Years ago I was an extremely anxious Christian. When I began spiraling
downward emotionally, God didn't intervene, for He knew I needed to
reach the end of myself. When I finally hit rock bottom, the "rock" on
which I fell was Jesus Christ.
The Lord immediately began rebuilding me, applying truths from His
Word to teach me trust and faith. Gradually He changed me into the
joyful, God-dependent person He intended me to be. Through this
painful but profitable experience, I learned that when God disciplines
us, our greatest gain isn't what we get but what we become.
In Hebrews 12, we read that our heavenly Father loves us too dearly to
let us remain immature. Like any loving father, He disciplines,
corrects, and trains us—often through difficult situations. God uses
our times of struggle to help us grow and make us more holy
(He 12:10, 11).
Many people are motivated to live for health, wealth, and ease, and
they try to avoid pain at all costs. But the abundant life that God
intends for His people isn't trouble-free. Growth and change are often
unsettling, but the gain is worth the pain.—Joanie Yoder (Ibid)
We shrink from the purging and pruning,
Forgetting the Gardener who knows:
The deeper the cutting and paring
The richer the cluster that grows. —Anon.
God uses setbacks to move us forward.
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The Making Of Us - When my husband was a child, his mother
sometimes scolded and disciplined him for disobeying her. During one
such scolding he said to her imploringly, "You must be nice to your
little boy!" His words touched her tender heart. But because she loved
him, she continued his discipline and training. Years later as a
missionary, Bill was grateful for her tough love, for it was the
making of him.
God also disciplines and trains His erring sons and daughters. He may
do so directly (1 Corinthians 11:29-32), or He may allow life's
hardships to melt us, mold us, and make us more like Jesus. In Hebrews
12:6, we're assured that "whom the Lord loves He chastens." Yet God's
chastening doesn't feel very loving. Sometimes we even think it's
ruining us. But God's discipline is the very thing that will save us
from the ruin of our selfish, stubborn ways.
Although we're unlikely to enjoy God's discipline, we're told that it
trains us for right and holy living (vv.7-11). Rather than resisting
God's correction, we can yield to Him, confident that His goal is our
spiritual growth. Whatever our circumstances, God knows the
seriousness of our difficulties and is working powerfully behind the
scenes for our good.
His tough love is the making of us.— Joanie Yoder (Ibid)
God's loving hand of discipline
May give us little rest;
His only purpose is our good —
He wants for us what's best. —D. De Haan
God's discipline is designed to make us like His Son.
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Blue-ribbon Christians - While visiting New England, I
was presented with a tin of pure Vermont maple syrup. It was given to
me by a man who consistently had won blue ribbons for his product.
Producing syrup of that quality is no easy task. Its richness, flavor,
and color depend on many factors: the tree from which the sap is
drawn, the time it is collected, the existing weather conditions, and
the skill of the one who controls the boiling and filtering process. A
blue-ribbon award is the result of a carefully controlled procedure
from start to finish.
This reminds me of the way the Lord refines the lives of His children.
Even now, He is working on us. The fires of affliction and trial may
be painful for a time, but afterward they will result in great
blessing and reward (He 12:11).
I remember well when my brother and I collected some sap from our
maple trees in the back yard. We put it in a big tub on a burner in
the basement, and then promptly forgot all about it. Many hours later
Mother almost fainted when she opened the basement door and was
greeted by billowing clouds of smoke. How thankful we can be that God
never forgets us in that way. He knows just the right amount of heat
necessary to make us blue-ribbon Christians! —R W De Haan (Ibid)
All God's testings have a purpose—
Someday you will see the light;
All He asks is that you trust Him,
Walk by faith and not by sight. —Zoller
God sends trials not to impair us but to improve us.
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Roughed Up To Grow Up -
Many Christians have to be lovingly roughed up before they will grow
up. Although the heavenly Father never allows His children to suffer
needlessly, sometimes He lets them experience hard knocks so they'll
become mature believers.
The need for "bad weather" to stimulate growth can be seen in nature.
Scientists say that the seeds of some desert bushes must be damaged by
a storm before they will germinate. They are covered with hard shells
that keep out water. This allows them to lie dormant on the sand for
several seasons until conditions are right for growth.
When heavy rains finally come, the little seeds are carried away in a
flash flood. They are banged against sand, gravel, and rocks as they
rush down the slopes. Eventually they settle in a depression where the
soil has become damp to a depth of several feet. Only then do they
begin to grow, for moisture is absorbed through the nicks and
scratches they picked up on their downhill plunge.
Similarly, difficulties may be needed to wake up a sleeping saint.
This may hurt for a while, but if we yield to the Lord we will find
that life's bruises can mark the beginning of spiritual advances. We
may prefer to remain "seeds," but He wants us to become "fruitful
trees." — Mart De Haan (Ibid)
Should Thy mercy
send me sorrow, toil, and woe,
Or should pain attend me on my path below,
Grant that I may never fail Thy hand to see,
Grant that I may ever cast my care on Thee. —Montgomery
There are no gains without pains.
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Bad Weather -
Scientists tell us that the seeds of certain types of desert bushes
must be damaged by a storm before they will germinate. Covered by hard
shells that keep out water, these seeds can lie dormant on the sand
for several seasons until conditions are right for growth. When heavy
rains finally bring flash floods, the little seeds are banged against
sand, gravel, and rocks as they rush down the slopes. Eventually they
settle in a depression where the soil is damp several feet deep. Able
to absorb water through the nicks and scratches they acquired on their
downhill plunge, they finally begin to grow.
Sometimes Christians are like those seeds. We need bad weather to
stimulate our spiritual development. We do not take life seriously
until something drastic happens. Although the heavenly Father never
allows His children to suffer needlessly, sometimes He lets us
experience nicks and scratches that let the water of His Word seep in
and soften our hearts.
An unexpected stay in the hospital, stacks of unpaid bills, or family
disruption can quickly awaken a sleeping saint. Such difficulties hurt
for a while, but if we yield to the Lord we will find that life's
bruises can mark the beginning of spiritual advances. Occasionally God
will let us be roughed up to grow up. We may prefer to remain seeds,
but He wants us to become fruitful trees. —M. R. De Haan II (Ibid)
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The Making Of You - Scottish author George MacDonald told this story of a woman who had
experienced a great tragedy in her life: "The heartache was so
crushing and her sorrow so bitter that the one in distress exclaimed,
'I wish I'd never been made.' With spiritual discernment, her friend
answered, 'My dear, you are not fully made yet; you're only being
made, and this is the Maker's process!'"
MacDonald wisely concluded,
"We can let God take our troubles and make
out of them a garment of Christian fortitude which will not only warm
our souls but also serve to inspire others."
This is true for all of our
trials-- even when we are being corrected by God for our sin. The
author of Hebrews wrote,
"No chastening seems to be joyful
for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the
peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it"
Does it seem as though everything in life is going against you? As you
face disillusionment, take heart! If you're a child of God, all things
are working together for good, and He is conforming you "to the image
of His Son" (Ro 8:28, 29). God's lessons through trials can be the
making of you! --R W De Haan (Ibid)
For all the heartaches and the tears,
For gloomy days and fruitless years
I do give thanks, for now I know
These were the things that helped me grow. --Anon.
God may have to break us in order to make us.
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Pain Is Not Pointless - During times of hardship, I often feel like whining, "Who needs this
pain? I certainly don't!" But Isaiah 28 and my own experience tell me
this is a shortsighted reaction. Not that we need hardship just for
its own sake, but we do need to be changed and to mature. In God's
hand, hardship can be an effective tool to bring about our much-needed
In Isa 28:23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, we read the prophet's "poetic parable," written to
help the people of Israel understand how God works and what He
intended to accomplish in their lives through tough times. A farmer is
portrayed skillfully plowing the ground, planting his crops, and
threshing the harvest. If the soil could talk, it might have whined,
"Who needs this painful plowing?" But the pain is not pointless.
Isaiah said that the farmer is taught by God to work in measured and
well-timed ways, handling delicate crops with care and others more
vigorously, but always with a sure harvest in view.
Our reassurance during tough times is that the farmer's God is our
God, "who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance" (Isa
28:29). His dealings with us are always thoughtful and purposeful,
producing in us "the peaceable fruit of righteousness" (He 12:11).—Joanie
God has a purpose in our heartaches—
The Savior always knows what's best;
We learn so many precious lessons
In every sorrow, trial, and test. —Jarvis
When you trust in God, pain is an opportunity for progress.
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Morning and evening : Daily
readings (May 18 PM) - How happy are tried Christians, afterwards. No calm more deep than
that which succeeds a storm. Who has not rejoiced in clear shinings
after rain? Victorious banquets are for well-exercised soldiers. After
killing the lion we eat the honey; after climbing the Hill Difficulty,
we sit down in the arbour to rest; after traversing the Valley of
Humiliation, after fighting with Apollyon, the shining one appears,
with the healing branch from the tree of life. Our sorrows, like the
passing keels of the vessels upon the sea, leave a silver line of holy
light behind them “afterwards.” It is peace, sweet, deep peace, which
follows the horrible turmoil which once reigned in our tormented,
guilty souls. See, then, the happy estate of a Christian! He has his
best things last, and he therefore in this world receives his worst
things first. But even his worst things are “afterward” good things,
harsh ploughings yielding joyful harvests. Even now he grows rich by
his losses, he rises by his falls, he lives by dying, and becomes full
by being emptied; if, then, his grievous afflictions yield him so much
peaceable fruit in this life, what shall be the full vintage of joy
“afterwards” in heaven? If his dark nights are as bright as the
world’s days, what shall his days be? If even his starlight is more
splendid than the sun, what must his sunlight be? If he can sing in a
dungeon, how sweetly will he sing in heaven! If he can praise the Lord
in the fires, how will he extol him before the eternal throne! If evil
be good to him now, what will the overflowing goodness of God be to
him then? Oh, blessed “afterward!” Who would not be a Christian? Who
would not bear the present cross for the crown which cometh
afterwards? But herein is work for patience, for the rest is not for
to-day, nor the triumph for the present, but “afterward.” Wait, O
soul, and let patience have her perfect work. (Spurgeon, C. H.)
J C Philpot - Devotional -
July 22 -- "Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous,
but grievous--nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of
righteousness unto those who are exercised thereby." Hebrews 12:11
It may be said of spiritual exercises as the Apostle speaks of
chastening generally, of which indeed they form a component part, that
"for the present they are not joyous, but grievous; but afterward they
yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto those who are
exercised thereby." Why the Lord allows so many of his people to be so
long and so deeply tried about their saving interest in Christ, why he
does not more speedily and fully manifest his pardoning love to their
souls, is a mystery which we cannot fathom. But I have observed that,
where the first work was not attended with deep and powerful
convictions of sin, it is usually the case, as if what was lacking in
depth has to be made up in length, and a slow, continuous work
compensates, as it were, for a shorter and more intense one.
I consider it, however, a great mercy where there are these exercises,
for I am well convinced that exercise is as much needed for the health
of the soul as of the body. Without movement the air becomes
pestilential, and water putrescent. Motion is the life of the natural,
and equally so of the supernatural, creation; and what are exercises,
doubts, and fears, accompanied as they always are by desires and
prayers, but means by which the soul is kept alive and healthy? As
Hezekiah said, "O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these
things is the life of my spirit."
But if you cannot see what good exercises have done you, can you not
see what evil they have kept you from? They mainly kept you from being
entangled in a worldly system; they have preserved you from resting in
the form without the power, and kept you from that notional
dead-letter faith which has ruined so many thousands. (This extract
was taken from a letter to a friend.) Without exercises you could do
without a revealed Christ, without manifested pardon of sin, without
the love of God being shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Spirit.
And here most are, who are not exercised--resting in "a name to live,"
and in the doctrine without the experience. But, being sick, you need
a physician; being guilty, you need mercy; and being a sinner, you
need salvation; and all this, not in word and name, but in reality,
and divine revelation and application. Your exercises give you errands
to the throne of mercy, and make you see in Christ and his precious
gospel what otherwise would neither be seen nor cared for.
At the same time, it would be wrong to rest in exercises as marks and
evidences of grace. Thirst is good as preparatory for water; hunger is
good as antecedent to food; but who can rest in thirst or hunger?
Without them, water and food are not desired; so, without exercises,
Christ, the Water and Bread of life, is not desired nor longed for.
But these exercises are meant to quicken longing desires after Christ,
and eventually make him very precious.
Octavius Winslow - Devotional
- AUGUST 30. -- "Now no chastening for the present seems to be
joyous, but grievous." Hebrews 12:11
There is often a severity, a grievousness in the chastisements of our
covenant God, which it is important and essential for the end for
which they were sent, not to overlook. He who sent the chastisement
appointed its character– He intended that it should be felt. There is
as much danger in underrating as in overrating the chastisements of
God. It is not uncommon to hear some of God's saints remark, in the
very midst of His dealings with them, "I feel it to be no cross at
all; I do not feel it an affliction; I am not conscious of any
Is it not painful to hear such expressions from the lips of a dear
child of God? It betrays a lack, so to speak, of spiritual
sensitiveness; a deficiency of that tender, acute feeling which ought
ever to belong to him who professes to have reposed on Jesus' bosom.
Now we solemnly believe that it is the Lord's holy will that His child
should feel the chastisement to be grievous; that the smartings of the
rod should be felt. Moses, Jacob, Job, David, Paul, all were made to
exclaim, "The Lord has sorely chastened me."
When it is remembered that our chastisements often grow out of our
sin; that to subdue some strong indwelling corruption, or to correct
for some outward departure, the rod is sent; this should ever humble
the soul; this should ever cause the rebuke to be rightly viewed; that
were it not for some strong indwelling corruption, or some step taken
in departure from God, the affliction would have been withheld; oh how
should every stroke of the rod lay the soul in the dust before God!
"If God had not seen sin in my heart, and sin in my outward conduct,
He would not have dealt thus heavily with me." And where the
grievousness of the chastisement is not felt, is there not reason to
suspect that the cause of the chastisement has not been discovered and
There is the consideration, too, that the stroke comes from the Father
who loves us; loves us so well, that if the chastisement were not
needed, there would not be a feather's weight laid on the heart of his
child. Dear to Him as the apple of His eye, would He inflict those
strokes, if there were not an absolute necessity for them? "What! Is
it the Father who loves me that now afflicts me? Does this stroke come
from His heart? What! Does my Father see all this necessity for this
grievous chastening? Does He discover in me so much evil, so much
perverseness, so much that He hates and that grieves Him, that this
severe discipline is sent?" Oh how does this thought, that the
chastisement proceeds from the Father who loves him, impart a keenness
to the stroke!
And then there is often something in the very nature of the
chastisement itself that causes its grievousness to be felt. The wound
may be in the tenderest part; the rebuke may come through some idol of
the heart; God may convert some of our choicest blessings into sources
of the keenest sorrow. How often does He, in the wisdom and
sovereignty of His dealings, adopt this method! Abraham's most valued
blessing became the cause of his acutest sorrow. The chastisement may
come through the beloved Isaac. The very mercy we clasp to our warm
hearts so fondly may be God's voice to us, speaking in the tone of
severe yet tender rebuke. Samuel, dear to the heart of Eli, was God's
solemn voice to His erring yet beloved servant.
Let no afflicted believer, then, think lightly of his chastisements–
it is the Lord's will that he should feel them. They were sent for
this purpose. If I did not feel the cross, if I was not conscious of
the burden, if the wound were not painful, I should never take it to
the mercy-seat, there to seek all needed grace, support, and strength.
The burden must first be felt, before it is cast upon the Lord; the
chastisement must be felt to be grievous, before the tenderness and
sympathy of Jesus will be sought.
There is equal danger of overrating our afflictions. When they are
allowed too deeply to absorb us in grief; when they unfit us for duty;
keep us from walking in the path God has marked out for us; hold us
back from prayer and from the means of grace; when they lead us to
think harshly and speak severely of God; then we overrate God's
chastisements, and prevent the good they were so kindly sent to
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Out Of The Thorns - The gorse bush is a shrub that was imported from Europe and now grows
wild in the Pacific Northwest. It has dense, dark green shoots, and in
springtime it provides a dazzling display of fragrant, vibrant yellow
flowers. But it's best known by hikers and fishermen for its vicious
Remarkably, the flowers grow right out of the thorns.
Missionary and artist Lilias Trotter wrote, "The whole year round the
thorn has been hardening and sharpening. Spring comes—the thorn does
not drop off, it does not soften. There it is as uncompromising as
ever, but half-way up appear two brown fuzzy balls, mere specks at
first, that break at last—straight out of last year's thorn—into a
blaze of golden glory."
So it is with the suffering that accompanies God's chastening. Just
when our situation seems hopeless and hardest to bear, tiny signs of
life appear that will soon burst into bloom. Take the toughest issue,
the most difficult place. There, God in His grace can cause His beauty
to be seen in you.
No chastening seems pleasant at the time, "Yet when it is all over we
can see that it has quietly produced the fruit of real goodness in the
characters of those who have accepted it in the right spirit" (He
12:11 Phillips).—David H. Roper (Ibid)
For all the heartaches and the tears,
For gloomy days and fruitless years
I do give thanks, for now I know
These were the things that helped me grow! —Crandlemire
God's hand of discipline is a hand of love
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When John Henry Jowett was
pastor at Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, he began a series of children's
meetings. At the very first meeting, four boys with penny whistles
upset the meeting by playing tunes while Jowett was speaking. An usher
rounded up the boys and took them to the vestry where they faced
Jowett. "Can't you fellows play tin whistles any better than that?"
Jowett asked. "If you can't, I shall have to get Mrs. Jowett to give
you some lessons." A few weeks later, the four boys gave a concert
with Mrs Jowett accompanying them on the piano. W. Wiersbe, The
Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, p. 189.
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We must face the fact that many
today are notoriously careless in their living. This attitude finds
its way into the church. We have liberty, we have money, we live in
comparative luxury. As a result, discipline practically has
disappeared. What would a violin solo sound like if the strings on the
musician's instrument were all hanging loose, not stretched tight, not
"disciplined"? A. W. Tozer, Men Who Met God.
Coleridge is the supreme example
of tragedy of indiscipline. Never did so great a mind produce so
little. He left Cambridge University to join the army; he left the
army because he could not rub down a horse; he returned to Oxford and
left without a degree. He began a paper called "The Watchman" which
lived for ten numbers and then died. It has been said of him, "he lost
himself in visions of work to be done, that always remained to be
done. Coleridge had every poetic gift but one--the gift of sustained
and concentrated effort." In his head and in his mind he had all kinds
of books, as he said, "completed save for transcription." But the
books were never composed outside of Coleridge's mind, because he
would not face the discipline of sitting down to write them out. No
one ever reached any eminence, and no one having reached it ever
maintained it, without discipline. Wm. Barclay, The Gospel of
Matthew, p. 280.
Spurgeon on yet
afterward - See where the believer’s hope mainly lies; it does
not lie in the seeming. He may seem to be rich, or seem to be poor,
seem to be sick, or seem to be in health; he looks upon all that as
the seeming. He notices that the thing seen is the thing that seems,
but the thing believed is the thing that is. He knows that what his
eye catches is only the surface, what his finger touches is only the
exterior, but what his heart believes is the depth, the substance,
the reality. So he finds all his joy in the “but later” (Heb 12:11).
The Christian often learns his best lessons about heaven by
contrast. If a man should give me a black book printed in the
old black letter, and should say, “You want to know about happiness?
That book is written about misery; learn from the opposite,” I would
thank him just as much for that as if the book were on happiness. So
the believer takes his daily trials and reads them the opposite way.
Trial comes to him and says, “Your hope is dry.” “My hope is not
dry,” he says. “While I have a trial I have a ground of hope.” “Your
God has forsaken you,” says tribulation. “My God has not forsaken
me,” he says, “for He says that in the world you shall have
tribulation, and I have it. I have a letter from God in a black
envelope, but as long as it came from Him I do not mind what kind of
envelope it comes in. He has not forgotten me—has not given me up—He
is still gracious to me.” And so the Christian begins to think
“For,” says he, “this is the place of work, that is the place of
rest; this is the place of sorrow, that is the place of joy; here is
defeat, there is triumph; here is shame, there glory; here it is
being despised, there it is being honored; here it is the hiding of
my Father’s face, there it is the glory of his presence; here it is
absence in the body, there it is presence with the Lord; here
weeping, and groaning, and sighing, there the song of triumph; here
death—death to my friends and death to myself—there the happy union
of immortal spirits in immortality.” So he learns to sing not of the
seeming but of the “but later,” with sweet hope, as his harp of many
in The Holiest of All expounds on those glorious, grace filled
Hebrews 12:11, 12, 13.
He chastens us for our
profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.
That word was the summing up of
all that there was to say of affliction. Suffering was to be God's
messenger to lead us into, not a place or a position, but a life and
an experience, into fitness for and inner union with the Holiest of
All, and the Most Holy One who dwells there. Higher honour have none
of God's servants than this one, unwelcome and rejected though it so
often be. By all that is sacred and worthy of desire, the word would
have us know and believe that affliction is a blessing. And yet it
does not ignore the fact that the chastisement causes pain. As an old
believer said, when speaking of one of the promises, Yes, it is
blessedly true; but still it hurts. Therefore, our writer continues,
An chastening for the present seemeth to be grievous: yet afterward it
yieldeth peaceable fruit unto them that have been exercised thereby,
even the fruit of righteousness. To the flesh which judges by what is
present and by sense, it is distinctly, often terribly, grievous.
Faith which lives in the future and unseen, rejoices in the assurance
not only of deliverance, but of the heavenly blessing it brings.
For the present--yet
These two expressions contain
the great contrast between time and eternity, of the visible and the
invisible, of sorrow and of joy, of sense and of faith, of backsliding
and of progress to perfection. For the present: to be guided by it,
and sacrifice all for its gratification, is the sin and the folly and
death in which we live by nature. Yet afterward: to throw eternity
into the balance, and judge everything by that: this is what even the
patriarchs did; this is what Christ taught us, when, for the joy set
before Him, He endured the cross; this is what faith can teach us in
every trial. With that yet afterward of the peaceable fruit of
righteousness, the light of eternity and its reward shines on the
least as on the greatest of our trials, and makes each one the seed of
an everlasting harvest, of which we pluck the fruits even here. And so
light arises upon the command, Count it all joy when ye fall into
manifold temptations. We read it in the light of what Paul said of
himself, As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing'. When the hurricane is
sweeping the ocean into mountain-high waves, down in the deep waters
all is serene and quiet--the disturbance is only on the surface. And
even so the joy of eternity can keep a soul in perfect peace amid
abounding afflictions. For the present is swallowed up in the yet
afterward of a living faith.
Now there follows, on the
strength of what has been said of God's love and His blessing, the
call to the Hebrews to rise up out of their dejection and despair, and
gird themselves for the race in the way in which Jesus leads us to
God. Wherefore lift up the hands that hang down, and the palsied
knees; and make straight paths for your feet. Take courage, he says,
and gird yourselves for the race--without it the prize can never be
won. Lift up hands and knees, choose the straight path for your feet,
rouse your whole being, and with your eye once more on Jesus, and in
the faith He inspires, follow Him in the path of endurance. See the
mistake you made when you thought your trials were an excuse for
despondency; accept God's message, that they are the very proof of His
love, the very means of His grace, the very mark of His own Son.
Accept them as a part of your Christian manhood and perfection. Rise
up and stand forth as men ready for the race.
That which is lame be not put
out of joint, but rather be healed. That which is lame would, if they
continued in their desponding state, go from worse to worse and be put
entirely out of joint,--far rather let it be healed. As they lifted up
the hands and knees, and roused themselves to enter the straight path,
the lame would be healed, the courage of faith would give new
strength, faith in Jesus would give perfect soundness. Yes, to faith
in Jesus the blessing still comes as to the man of old: Immediately
his feet and his ankle bones received strength. And he, leaping up,
stood, and began to walk; and he entered into the temple, walking, and
leaping, and praising God.
Bat rather be healed. Is there
anyone among my readers who feels that his life is not what it should
be, whom the cares and troubles of this life have hindered, and who
feels half hopeless as to the possibility of running the race as Jesus
the Leader would have--let him learn from this word what he needs. Let
him take courage and rouse himself. Lift up the feeble hands and
knees, and make straight paths; turn at once boldly to the course, the
way Jesus has marked. Yield, surrender, consecrate yourself to be His
wholly and for ever. This is the first step. And then, as in the name
of Jesus, in the faith of all God has spoken in His Son in this
blessed Epistle of a complete salvation and a perfect Saviour, you
rise and step on to the course, you too will know what healing is.
Leaping and praising God, you too can enter into the temple, the
Holiest of All, to praise your God, and abide with Him, your mighty
Keeper. Desponding Christian! there is healing--choose it, take it.
Looking to Jesus, rise, and run the race.
1. Yet afterward. The great word that hope is ever using, as it points
to what is still hidden, but surely coming. The section of Patience of
Hope began with patience, and ends here with this note of abounding
2. The state of absolute
resignation to the will of God, and of a naked faith in His infinite
love, is the highest perfection of which the soul is capable. Seek for
this with the simplicity of a. little child, judging everything by the
heavenly standard of value, as it helps to bring us nearer to God.
3. Be healed. Let all who
complain of hands that hang down and palsied knees, of limbs that are
lame or out of joint, hear the voice of Jesus: I say unto thee, Arise,
and walk. (Andrew Murray. The Holiest of All).
"No discipline seems pleasant at
the time, but painful. Afterwards, however, it produces a harvest of
righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."
Believers sometimes distress themselves because they cannot take
pleasure in pain. They read of those who have rejoiced in Gethsemane;
who, like Paul, have "gloried in tribulation." It is consolatory that
the very exhortation to filial resignation in Hebrews 12 recognizes
the fact that "no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but
"Chastening" means child-training. There would be no training
in repentance, patience, faith, if the rod caused no pain. Divine
trust does not ignore human nature. Peter, sharing Paul's magnanimity,
writes to the "elect" as those who were "in heaviness through manifold
trials." They are "chosen of God," "sanctified by the Spirit unto
obedience," on their way to "an inheritance incorruptible," "kept by
the power of God," "greatly rejoicing"—and yet "in heaviness!" (1Pe
1:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.)
"This the apostle blames not,
but aims at the moderating of it; seeks not altogether to dry up the
stream, but to bound it and keep it within its banks. Grace does not
destroy the life of nature, but adds to it a life more excellent; yes,
does not only permit, but requires some feeling of afflictions."
Weep then, sorrowing one; tell your trouble to sympathizing friends;
above all, to your fellow-Sufferer in Gethsemane; but let your sorrow
be soothed by the "afterwards." The corn-field, ploughed, harrowed,
weeded, storm-swept, snow-covered, shall bear golden sheaves, not only
after, but by reason of, such culture. The husbandman "has patience."
The vinedresser with kind care uses the knife, yet sometimes with a
seeming severity which makes an ignorant observer think he will kill
the tree. But he knows that the abundant pruning will produce abundant
Christ said, "I am the Vine, you are the branches." Insincere
professors are no real part of the tree, but as branches tied on; not
to be pruned, but cut off, unless they repent. "But every branch that
bears fruit He prunes it, that it may bring forth more fruit." Does
not the "more fruit" repay the more pruning? Should not the process,
though painful, be prized for the result? Is our highest end to
display mere leafage, or to glorify God? "Herein is my Father
glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples."
Ought we to be satisfied to bear only so much as to secure us from
being altogether cut away? Should not every Christian desire to be as
fruitful as possible, so as best to prove his discipleship and glorify
These results are described as "the peaceable fruits of
righteousness." Submission to pruning and desire for righteousness
are evidences of being children of God, fruits of the Spirit, the
pledge of the fuller harvest, "the Spirit witnessing with our spirit
that we are the children of God." They prove that we have faith; by
faith we are justified; and, being justified, "we have peace with God,
through Jesus Christ." Reconciliation is peace. Contention has given
place to harmony, restless searching to contented finding, painful
doubting to glad assurance, "the peace of God which passes all
Affliction, patiently endured, strengthens the habit of confidence
in our Father's care, and so we are at peace. Whatever the
wildness of the storm, we have proved the safety of our Refuge.
Perplexing doubts about the mysteries of Providence are lost in the
calm trustfulness of love. But this does not come at once. Like other
works of God, the process is gradual. Life is given at once, but the
full maturity "afterwards." Suffering a while helps to make us
"perfect, to establish, strengthen, settle us."
The early apple is sour, the early peach flavorless; but how sweet,
fragrant, beautiful, "afterwards!"
When the pain is very acute, the
bereavement very fresh, the sufferer may say, with Job, "My grief is
heavier than the sand of the sea;" or with David, "Has God shut up his
tender mercies?" or with Elijah, "It is enough; now, O Lord, take away
my life." But as with those eminent saints, the fruit will gradually
become ripe, will ripen afterwards. Trial is not a dead pebble but a
living seed, planted and nurtured by God. "The fruit of righteousness
is sown in peace." "And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and
the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever" (Jas
3:18, Is 32:17).
After a long war, how joyful the proclamation of peace! After the
tempestuous storm, how delightful the clear sky, the calm waters!
Still more delightful when we can look back at the warfare and the
storm, not as injuries but as blessings; when, however fierce the
battle and wild the storm, we can bless God for it all, and testify
That care and
trial seem at last,
Through memory's sunset air,
Like mountain-ranges overpast
In purple distance fair.
"That all the jarring notes of life
Seem blended in a psalm,
And all the billows of its strife
Slow sinking into calm.
"And so the shadows fall apart,
And so the west winds play
And all the windows of my heart
I open to the day." (Whittier)
There are Christians whose piety
is strong but not tender, sublime but not lovely, who need sorrow to
soften and to make them more like their Lord, more useful to others. A
Devonshire wall, when first built up of undressed stones, though
strong, is rough and unsightly; but when winds and storms have carried
to it the seeds of ferns and flowers, which sunshine has developed
into Nature's unrivalled tapestries, how lovely becomes the lane thus
bounded by walls no less strong than before, but how soft and
I have watched the Matterhorn in its stern sublimity, with jagged
precipices and black frowning peak overhanging the valley, until I
have turned away oppressed with its threatening strength. And then has
rolled up a dark cloud, from which the forked lightning has gleamed,
while the pealing thunder has made the ground to tremble. But
presently the cloud has dispersed, and the sun has shone on a
transfigured scene. Those rugged precipices, those pointed rocks, that
threatening peak, are now invested with a soft and stainless robe;
sublimity is arrayed in beauty; and awe has been forgotten in delight.
This chastening is said to yield these fruits "unto those who are
exercised (trained) thereby." The word is from
gumnazo, from which comes our
gymnastics. As the athlete willingly undergoes discipline in hope of
the prize; and as "afterward," when mature in strength and skill, he
does not regret the training, even so the followers of the "Captain of
Salvation" should not regret being "exercised," gymnastisized. We were
not born as molluscs or sloths, to live merely for ease and enjoyment,
but for growth in all true manliness and womanliness, for virtue and
usefulness, for God and eternity.
The marble block, could it speak, would not resent the chisel that cut
away what imprisoned the angel to be revealed afterwards. The rough,
dull diamond would not quarrel with the grinder's tool that enabled it
to flash back all the glory of the solar ray, and be a fit ornament
for a kingly crown. The swelling Nile, which seems to devastate the
land, leaves the fertilizing deposit that afterwards enriches it with
plenty. The soul may not complain of the plough and the harrow that
yield in autumn the "peaceable fruit of righteousness."
How much more in eternity will be understood the meaning of
"afterwards"! In this life we may have to wrestle long in the
gymnasium. During some night of polar duration, from the depths of
some dark valley, from the vortex of the cyclone, from the inner
recesses of some Gethsemane of grief, the cry may be continuous—"Not
joyous, but grievous!" But how rapturous and never-ending the
Hallelujah song "Afterwards!"
"Now the sowing
and the weeping—
Working hard and waiting long;
Afterward the golden reaping,
Harvest-home and grateful song!
"Now the pruning-sharp, unsparing,
Scattered bloom and bleeding shoot:
Afterward the plenteous bearing
Of the Master's pleasant fruit.
"Now the tuning and the tension,
Wailing minors, discord strong;
Afterwards the grand ascension
Of the Hallelujah song.
"Now the training, strange and lowly,
Unexplained and tedious now
Afterward the service holy,
And the Master's 'Enter thou.'"