Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Despair or Discipline

Do you remember what it was like when you were discplined as a kid? I do. I am the middle child, the overachiever and the baby girl in my family. When I got into trouble, it was easy to pout, fake cry or somehow manipulate my way out of punishment...sometimes! The point is I failed to reap the benefits of the discipline. I spent my time despairing over what I couldn't have or do and finding a way out.

Today many of us are facing our own discplines or challenges. Some of them major, some of them minor. The question is do we see the benefits of the discipline or are we just despairing? God's word has amazing promises for those who are trained by His discipline. Last week I "unpacked" Hebrews 12:10-11 in my Bible study. (I recently heard or read the phrase "unpack the verse". It's not mine, but I loved the visual so I'm borrowing it!!) Here's what the verse says:

"Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." NIV

God's discipline according to these verses is:

  • for our good
  • to share in His holiness
  • to produce a harvest of righteousness
  • to produce peace

As Christians, I believe we would all say we want these things. We also probably agree with verse 11 that discipline is not pleasant and sometimes is painful. The challenge for us is to not seep into despair but to be trained by the discipline.

Take some time to identify where God may be discplining you. Determine to not be despairing, but rather focused on the goodness, holiness, righteousness and peace of God that will come as you are trained by Him. Your faith will be stronger.

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