Our Father disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share his holiness. Discipline always seems painful, rather than pleasant, at the time, 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.”
We were in the car travelling through the Isle of Skye with its many mountains and hills. The weather was terrible, constant heavy rain and low cloud. We passed some cyclists pushing hard up what seemed to be an unending hill, against all odds of height and weather conditions. I was so grateful for the comfortable car! Watching the cyclists standing up on the pedals, working exceptionally hard made me wonder why they would want to do this! My husband reminded me of the free ride the other side. I thought to myself that there is really no gain without pain.
In order to achieve and attain, there has to be the discipline of perseverance, endurance and pressing through our own self made limitations. In other words we cannot settle for comfortable living as it will end up being the enemy of our aspirations.
The Scripture above makes it plain to us that discipline is painful. Our human affection would rather avoid pain at all costs. Yet the pain of discipline, in time, yields peace and good fruit if we will submit to the training and receive it.
When we walk with Jesus, every aspect of life is a training ground. Our frustrations, our disappointments, our struggles, our accidents, our relationships and our normal day to day choices and events are the training ground He is using to produce the good fruit of righteous living. Sometimes it may feel like we are peddling, rather like the cyclists on the Isle of Skye, against all odds and climatic conditions. We make ask ourselves if we will make it, whether it is worth it and may even want to give up.
Just like the cyclist who has been through disciplined training, if we yield to it, and allow the Lord to do His work in and through us, we will reap the reward. We have to do our part, keep moving forward, stepping out of comfort and human safety and embrace the discipline, which in turn keeps us from being lame and leads us to healing.
There are many people who settle for being lame because they are unwilling to allow the discipline necessary for healing. There are others who give up easily and opt for a comfortable life. Both these things are our enemies because we are designed for the joy and abundance of life which Jesus won for us. The ‘free wheeling’ is the reward which comes when we allow Him to train and teach us.
Our six month old puppy is undergoing strong and hard discipline at the moment. If he allows it to do its work, he will receive the reward of freedom in His life.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, please help me to recognise what you are doing in taking me through the sometimes hard discipline cycles of life in order to bring me to a place of freedom harnessed and in submission to you. I want to embrace this even when it is unpleasant at the time, knowing it will reap the fruit of a peaceful and righteous life. Amen.
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