Yes, money. Still curious?
Relationships, too. How ‘bout now?
Sure, it works for getting more out of your time, improving your professional life, and deepening your spiritual life.
This one secret, handed down through ancient wisdom, has always – always – marked the difference between winners and wannabes.
Oh, and what if I were to tell you that this guarantee is backed up by God Himself? Meaning, of course, that it works for all time and eternity, too.
I know, I know. If it’s that obvious, and that old, everybody else will know it and be doing it, right?
Not exactly. In fact, quite the opposite is true. You follow this plan, and I promise you, not only will it work, but you’ll have plenty of elbow-room along the way. I said it was foolproof; I didn’t say it was easy.
Okay, enough advertising. Check out this quote:
“No stream or gas drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated and disciplined” (Harry Emerson Fosdick, emphasis mine).
Can you see it yet? Are your thoughts dancing with the possibilities of power, greatness and profit? Here’s what one of the Bible writers says about it:
You have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons:
“My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly, or faint when you are reproved by Him; for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and punishes every son whom He receives.”
Endure it as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there whom a father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline—which all receive—then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had natural fathers discipline us, and we respected them. Shouldn’t we submit even more to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time based on what seemed good to them, but He does it for our benefit, so that we can share His holiness. No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:5-11, HCSB).
Now you know why people who participate in this plan are in the minority.
Discipline. It can be brutal sometimes. It can feel endless, sometimes even purposeless. But it serves a purpose in the counsel of God that few things, if any, can serve. It is God’s foolproof plan to profit his children.
R. T. Kendall says,
The word “discipline” comes from a Greek word that means “enforced learning.” Enforced learning takes place when we have virtually no choice but to take God’s will on board. It demonstrates not only God’s love for us, but also the fact that God isn’t finished with us yet. Never forget this: When God chastens us, it means we have a future and that the best is yet to come!
God’s discipline lets us know how far we have to go. Sometimes we claim progress as perfection; God has other ideas. So he encourages us not to take his discipline lightly. Taking it lightly today means taking it again tomorrow. Learning from it today can mean being released from it tomorrow.
Sonship and Hardship
Make no mistake: discipline is a form of correction. It’s a call for change. That’s the difference between discipline and spiritual warfare. If what you’re encountering is a form of discipline, the message will be clear: Change this. On my “day from hell,” it was sure there for me.
The Lord disciplines us personally, not through some chain of command. That is both frightening and comforting. He who can utterly destroy you with a thought comes to you as a Father to build you up. It’s an expression of love. God loves you enough not to leave you to flounder where you are. He lovingly insists that you move forward.
Discipline shows up as hardship. Just I case you had any confusion between discipline and a walk in the park, this hurts!
Your hardship is a form of God’s discipline that requires your patient endurance. Maybe it’s because you’re doing something wrong. Maybe it’s because you’re untrained or unfaithful in doing something right. In either case, hardness is a good thing; it’s serving a higher purpose.
Discipline is proof of sonship. God doesn’t discipline unbelievers. His name and credibility aren’t attached to them. They have no covenant with him. We do.
Discipline is our connecting point to God’s holiness. God’s discipline will take us where self-discipline can’t and won’t. I imagine a conversation that goes something like this:
“Are you participating in God’s holiness”?
“Yep… kicking and screaming.”
Good news! Discipline always has an “afterward” – a harvest of righteousness and peace. Often it is “here.” Sometimes the reward awaits your arrival in heaven.
So where is it hard? What are the life lessons God is teaching? What are the corrections He is making? What are the comfort zones he is bumping, or yanking you out of? Don’t take it lightly! He’s profiting you.
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