Discipline is one of those things you know is good for you, but very often you cringe at the thought of it. Whether inflicted by others or ourselves, its always hard work. Today I want to think about discipline from a Christian perspective, although many of my thoughts could be applied to secular life. I was reading this verse in Hebrews ch 12 v 11 “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
As Christians we know that sometimes the Lord ‘chastens’ or disciplines us, but very often we overlook our need to discipline ourselves in everyday life. As the verse in Hebrews explains, it is not always a happy occasion when we have to scrutinise our own lives and cut certain things out, or introduce new habits, but there will be eternal fruit for our efforts. I know that sometimes I can be quick to expect amazing things from the Lord and claim promises from scripture, but afterward I am reminded of my need to fashion my life in such a way as to allow the Holy Spirit to work in the way that God desires. It seems unreasonable even in everyday life to expect certain things to happen when we don’t prepare and make ourselves ready. If we wanted to run a marathon, we would have to train our bodies to be capable of this, which would take time and effort, ultimately self-discipline. I believe this is true for the Christian in the many spiritual marathons we run during the course of our lives.
If we want to see God bless us financially, then we need to exercise self-discipline in our spending. If we want to be blessed in our Sunday services, then we should be praying for the minister all week and attending prayer meetings in the church. If we want unsaved people to come into the gospel meetings, we should be inviting them to come, either by personal invitation or joining the outreach team. If we want our children to be saved, we need to set time aside to witness to them and have family worship. These are examples of things which require discipline, if we want to achieve a good end result.
I am taking Hebrews 12 v 11 as a promise that the things which require discipline, especially in our spiritual lives will yield the good fruit, glorify God and benefit us long-term. I had read this verse so many times before but had never really thought about what it meant. Hopefully it will be of some benefit to you.