This verse means a lot to me this time of year!
“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.”
~ Hebrews 12:11
The months after the winter holidays often seem to be hard for me. My mood tends to plummet, and the weather doesn't help, with bleak leafless trees, day after day of cloudy sun blocked skies, and often ice and snow. And those cloudy days are short, which makes it even harder to maintain motivation; I feel like crawling into bed early and rising late.
Do you think that maybe this time of year requires more discipline than the rest of the year? And what exactly is discipline?
When I think of discipline I think of continuing to do something hard whether or not I feel like it, or want to.
Although this time of year tends to be the hardest, year round there are also many ways I am constantly facing that need for discipline.
Emotions... If something hurts or feels painful, I have the choice to forgive, even forget, and continue to bless those who I feel have wronged me.
Spending... Saying ‘no’ to myself when I want something above my need, or above my budget.
Eating... Choosing foods that help my body, rather than just foods that please my palate. (Always seeking foods that do both!) Eating less than I am hungry for, to keep my weight down and my health at a better level.
Work... Continuing to do what needs to be done, even though energy and motivation are low.
Spiritual Growth... Feeding on God's Word when I would rather read about other things that happen to be interesting to me. Feeding on God's Word even when His admonitions are hard medicine to swallow.
It does help to remember that I should expect that discipline is not pleasant, but rather it is, and should be expected to be, painful. If I am expecting to only do things that are easy and pleasant, I am not being disciplined! So why deny yourself and be disciplined? Because, the fruit of discipline comes later.
“Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness
and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
I must remember, the harvest is later. We live in a world of instant everything, so possibly this generation struggles with delayed gratification more than any other.
Discipline with emotions yields, later, emotional peace. It also protects relationships and those who might be harmed by our lack of emotional control.
Discipline with spending yields, later, financial freedom.
Discipline with eating yields, later, health and fitness.
Discipline with work yields, later, tasks accomplished and more time to do things you enjoy.
Discipline with your spiritual life yields, later, ‘a harvest of righteousness and peace.’
And the fruit of lack of discipline comes later, too. Lack of discipline does not instantly produce bad results.
Emotions... Bitterness and unforgiveness take their toll over time, eating away at our soul and paralyzing us from being fruitful.
Spending... A mountain of debt occurs one little decision at a time.
Eating... Being unhealthy and/or overweight comes one meal at a time.
Work... The more you put off doing, the bigger the mountain of work grows.
Spiritual Growth... One skipped day of Bible reading doesn't seem to hurt, but over time we lose our spiritual strength and vigor, our vision. We slowly stop walking in truth, because we are not taking truth into our mind.
Every day we need to choose, many times...
Discipline now. Accomplishments, peace, fruitfulness later.
Lack of discipline now. Lack of accomplishments and success, unrest, bad fruit later.
What will you choose today?
May you be blessed with discipline and fruitfulness as you rely on God and the Holy Spirit for strength to do hard things in your life, whatever they might be! And may the scripture ring true, and may you reap, later, a mountain of blessings in return.
Much love, in Christ,
~ Linda for the Bealls
Left & center — Enjoy this picture of our seventh grandchild, Peter Joshua, at two days old with his beautiful Momma, and at two weeks old. Peter seems to be a pretty intense and intelligent baby. He is already holding his head up, smiling and cooing back at the faces he loves. Please pray for Josh and Kerin and the girls as they all seek to settle into a new normal with their 6th child and first boy. I think raising young ones is probably the most demanding season of life. Please pray for God's grace and strength and wisdom equal to the task He has given them.
Right — Aaron and Christina’s Ezra was recently diagnosed with strabismus, and they are doing some eye patching to try to correct it. Please pray it can be corrected without surgery, but if surgery is required, pray for all to go well and for wonderful doctors to do a wonderful job without any complications. Ezra continues to thrive, and at 8 months is crawling, pulling up to standing, cruising, climbing stairs, understanding many words, and wearing comfortably size 18-24 month clothes! His nickname is Superbaby! Gotta love that adorable smile. ⋅