I had to read this scripture a couple days in a row to let it really sink in. It's powerful. Really powerful.
Hebrews 12:1-13 (The Message Bible)
Discipline in a Long-Distance Race
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Father's Son, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with Father—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside Father. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Father's Son went through—all that bloodshed! So don't feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that Father regards you as his children?
My dear child, don't shrug off Father's discipline,
but don't be crushed by it either.
It's the child he loves that he disciplines;
the child he embraces, he also corrects.
Father is educating you; that's why you must never drop out. He's treating you as dear children. This trouble you're in isn't punishment; it's training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible Father? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace Father's training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But Father is doing what is best for us, training us to live Father's holy best. At the time, discipline isn't much fun. It always feels like it's going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it's the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with Father.
So don't sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it!