Hebrews 12:11 “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
We have horses and goats and horses and goats are good at a lot of things, but one of the things they’re best at is making a lot of slippery, stinky mess in the corral. Morning, noon and night they just like to hang around doing their thing.
Fortunately for us we also have a lot of neighbours who line up every spring to get their grubby little gardening hands on that big slippery, stinky mess in our corral. They come with their pick-up trucks, their wheelbarrows, their rakes and shovels, their gloves and boots and set to work. Everyone complains about this gardening discipline. Everyone hates the smell, the mess, the slipping and sliding, the pain in their back as they heft and shovel, rake and toss and contemplate the unloading and necessary work involved in preparing their gardens for planting.
Come late August, early September however their groans and complaints have turned to smiles and pride as they freeze and can and pickle the fruits of their labour, which have all benefited from the messy, hard job they disciplined themselves to undertake in the early spring.
Yes, no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. I think we can all agree on this truth, don’t you? Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. The big question here however is: will we allow the blessing of God’s discipline to train us, or will we just keep wallowing around in the muck of our own arrogance and stubbornness, slipping and sliding and getting nowhere? The choice is ours.
Prayer: Father God thank you that your discipline is always for our best. As difficult and messy as it may sometimes seem, when we submit our will to yours and allow our hearts to accept and learn from you we are indeed blessed with spiritual growth and peace. For this we praise and thank you. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Lynne Phipps [email protected]
FOLLOW-UP: The Mess
Read Hebrews 12:1-13 NIV
What does verse 1 imply? How does this thought/truth affect you as a Christian?
Is there some sin entangling you which is impeding your ability to run with perseverance the race marked out for you? What might it be?
If we apply the command in verse 2 to ‘fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith’ how might this encourage and empower us to deal with the entanglement of sin?
What was the discipline Jesus was called to endure? How messy and painful do you think it was? How does it compare to any discipline you might be enduring?
How can we gird ourselves spiritually to make sure that we do not lose heart when God rebukes us? (Hint vs. 6)
Do you like to complain when things are hard (be honest!); do you feel a great need to share your complaint with others? Seeing as this seems to be part of our humanity, how do you think complaining or sharing the hardship with others, at least for a time (Be careful don’t get caught up in this practice) can be helpful to our acceptance and training through God’s discipline?
According to verse 10 what is a benefit of being disciplined? Is holiness something you desire in your life, here and now, not just in eternity?
As you read verse 12 do you think this is referring to the physical body or the spiritual? Why or why not?
Read Proverbs 4:26. How are the lame healed?
How have these thoughts changed or grown your view concerning any hardship you are enduring?