“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.” Hebrews 12:11-13
These words rang loud and clear in my ears this morning. My girl and I had a 7am date to get in 3 miles. I was up at 5:30, but can I be honest enough to admit? I hoped she would sleep in.
Working through my normal morning routine, I decided to forcefully get dressed at 6:40, all the while quietly celebrating the fact that she was STILL not up. That celebration however, was hushed by that still small voice reminding me, “whoa, whoa, whoa, remember how your body hasn’t been feeling right lately?” Yea, I’ve not been treating it like a temple for the Most High – and I’m feeling the ramifications, of either that or age, and at 36 – I’m not willing to say its age, just yet.
Full of lament, I chose to lace up those running shoes, begrudgingly prepared to force my out of shape self out the door. Even if my sleeping beauty chose to stay in bed.
To my surprise, 6:45 came and I heard precious feet tiptoeing down the hall, energizing me with each step as she came to let me know she was ready!
An accountability partner is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?
What an encouragement, helping us follow through with what we know in our mind is best, but rebel against in our flesh. Sometimes they are right there to force us through, but sometimes they are not – and in those moments the struggle to choose right can be a very real and dirty moment of contention. I’m grateful today, my contention was quick and painless. That’s not always the case though.
Out the door we went, 3 miles done – CHECK!
I can tell you we both felt the fruit of getting done what we needed and started our day off with a sense of accomplishment before the clock hit 7:30! YES!
It did something else though, those silent miles of forcing my stride, one foot in front of the other, each step drilling in a reminder…
Living a disciplined life is not pleasant. Our flesh doesn’t naturally welcome it. Any form of it.
- Running – exercise – NOPE!
- Prayer time….Nope – we’ll fight excuse after excuse, mental block after mental block.
- Bible reading, studying, application…. Uh-uh, not this one either as the desire to fold clothes and mop the floor suddenly strike you as necessary to complete NOW.
- Putting into action the things God lays on our heart…this is a no too, excuse after excuse over why you are just not the one flood your mind in an attempt to wash away the vision God has given.
- Laying aside our own will to grab hold of the will of our Father…yea, that’s not going to be easy either. We all have that thought that says, “I am entitled to do what makes me happy, right? I mean, I only live once!”
Choice after choice after choice presented time and time again, day in and day out. We are given an opportunity to choose, “Will my flesh win today, or my Heavenly Father?” Intentionality however, and embracing this lifestyle of discipline are key to check our flesh. Checking our flesh allows us to reach for what we know is right, the thing God has promised will yield peaceful fruit of righteousness…
Determination to reach for the thing that is going to train us. It’s determination that will cause us to lift up our drooping, tired, sleepy, weary hands. The one that’s going to cause us to rise up to do the hard work to strengthen those weak knees. The discipline that is going to take work, and diligence. We all know making a crooked path straight is not easy. Sister, that is every bit intentional.
Just as it is every bit intentional, it is also worth it. As it all works to make right what is lame.
We all have something in our life that is lame…
An attitude, a hardened heart, an outlook, perspective, thought, emotion…. None of us are perfect. But God promises us… Daughter, embrace discipline – do what I’ve laid out for you to do, and I promise…. It will yield unmatchable peaceful fruit in our lives IF we will allow it to train us…
What type of peaceful fruit are we going to yield by these disciplines?
- God’s still small voice in our ear will become easier to hear.
- His Spirit will become easier to identify.
- His urging more quickly felt.
I want that – don’t you? No, I don’t like the discipline, but just as I can’t have a body that feels good without caring for it properly and investing in it, I can’t have the fruit of a relationship with God without time and investment.
When I lay everything out in front me and try to weight the pros and cons of self will vs His will– His will may require the discipline but it is better every single, crazy time.
I want Jesus…WE want Jesus, and if I/we want Jesus, I/we better figure out how to choose discipline, day in and day out…
Lord Jesus, Help us to see the discipline required, and give us the ability to look beyond the momentary discomfort – and our lack of fleshly desire so we can lay down these lesser things to reach for Your greater things.