Hebrews 12:11

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

I hate working out, especially when I haven’t done it in a while. However, I love the results that come from healthy exercise. Toned muscles, endorphins pumping through my system, and increased confidence are all reasons why I tolerate working out. Far too often, my body starts to feel the side effects of an unhealthy lifestyle and I know it is time to throw on my running shoes and get active again. Starting back up again is the worst feeling–my lungs burn, my muscles decide to get revenge the next day, and I feel even worse than I did before I decided to get healthy again. Then something possesses me to do it again the next day, sore muscles and all. Then the next day comes and I exercise again. As the days pass my exercise routine intensifies, and suddenly what I was struggling to do a few weeks ago is too easy now. This is the result of discipline.

Now, the author of Hebrews is not necessarily referring to exercise when he talks about discipline, but it helps to give us a clearer picture of the “harvest” that comes as a result of discipline. In fact, earlier in Chapter 12, the author is using the imagery of a race to explain why we should persevere. He continues on to talk about the discipline God uses with his children. God is a good Father and everything he does is done out of his love for his children. There are times when He has to discipline us or teach us to be disciplined in order to teach us something that will bring us into better alignment with His heart and will.

When we go through these times of discipline, we can rest assured that God is going to use it for good. Discipline may not be enjoyable at first, but the results are worth it in the end.

QUESTION 1. What is God trying to teach you through discipline right now?
QUESTION 2. What areas of your life could you discipline yourself in more in order to better please God?
CHALLENGE: Do not let pain or hardship be an excuse to not aim for the right living that results from discipline.
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