There’s so much rich truth for encouragement in Hebrews, and in this chapter.
But there is one short verse that stands out me today.
Hebrews 5:8 (NIV)
“Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered”
Jesus was undeniably the Son of God.
And yet, He still had to learn obedience.
He still had to learn submission,
He still had to choose to yield His will to His Father’s.
And how did He learn this submission?
In the midst of His suffering, He choose submission, and that’s when He was made obedient, and therefore, according to verse 9, perfect.
It’s easy to submit to God when His will matches my own.
It’s easy to submit to God when it does not cost me. When it’s easy, pleasurable, and comfortable.
But that’s not where my faith is proven.
My faith, like Jesus’s, is only proved genuine when I choose submission when it costs me – ultimately, it’s proven through my obedience in the midst of suffering,
In the midst of affliction, my flesh cries out and demands obedience. It’s easy to submit to myself in those moments. It’s easy to turn to food, to entertainment, to distraction. It’s easy to turn to self-defense, to anger, and to resentment.
How I respond to suffering reveals what’s truly in my heart, for better or for worse.
When life is easy, I speak easily and freely of the joy of obedience. But when God brings friction into my life, I must make a choice. I can either obey my flesh, or I can learn obedience through submission to God by doing the right thing at the right time, regardless of how I feel.
Thankfully, I’m not alone in this struggle.
Jesus Himself struggled.
And He overcame.
And now He is my high priest, ready to help me, to strengthen me, to comfort me, and to equip me to overcome as He, Himself, did.
What I have discovered is that when I chose obedience to myself in my suffering, things get worse. But when I choose obedience to God, things get better. And not necessarily circumstantially, but internally, as my attitude improves, peace floods my soul, and my actions honor God.
And the greatest thing of all is that when I choose obedience in suffering, I experience a greater, deeper, and richer relationship with God, as I learn how to depend on His strength and not my own.
Father, thank You for your patience with me. Thank You for caring enough about me to let me suffer for the sake of my spiritual growth. Thank You for not leaving me alone in the midst of my suffering. Thank You for the comfort of knowing that Jesus, also, suffered, and He is ready and waiting to help me in my trials. Help me to see my afflictions through Your eyes. Help me to prove my faith genuine by submitting to Your will over and above my own. In Jesus name, Amen.