Training sessions

I just love that, because God's Word is living and active, I can read a verse that is intensely familiar to me and still get a fresh Truth!  Depending on my circumstances or my level of obedience/maturity at that point, God often treats me to new nuggets of Himself even with portions of His Word that I have read many many times.

Such is the case for Wednesday's Word today. 

Hebrews 12:11 says "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness."

Lots to focus on.   Here are some thoughts:
1.  All discipline seems hard (sorrowful).  Physical, emotional, mental, spiritual - all of it.  So  I shouldn't be surprised when it is difficult to work out or learn a new skill or change a wrong attitude or grow in grace.  Nor should I whine about it.  Fact of life - it's hard.  For everybody.  Get over it.

2.  Seems....yet - Discipline seems sorrowful but it is bearable because of the hope of its fruit.  Peaceful fruit of righteousness.  That's what we are after.  Discipline is the transport to get there.

3.  Here's the new nugget God gave me - "to those who have been trained by it".  News flash - not everyone who receives discipline automatically gets to enjoy the peaceful fruit of righteousness!!  No, that is only for those who have been trained by it.  So that means that I can thwart or nullify the work of discipline in my life.  If I don't cooperate with God's activity of discipline in my life, I will not only have to endure the unpleasant disciplinary work but neither will I enjoy the fruit He desires to produce by it! For sure God is always at work in my life but just as surely, I have a choice about how I respond to what He plans to accomplish.

How do I get trained by it?  Instead of short-circuiting His intention for me? 
Just a few suggestions -
1.  Self-examination.  Is there sin in my life that God wants to address?  Sometimes discipline is a result of sin.  Other times it is a catalyst to reveal sin that I was unaware of.  But it is always a call to examine myself and see what God wants to remove from me.(Psalm 26:2; 139:23,24)
2.  Development of endurance.  Struggling is not always bad.  Not at all.  We get stronger as a result of wrestling and enduring and not quitting.  Numerous passages in Scritpure exhort us to hang in there and not give up.  Persevere. We don't know what is ahead of us and today's discipline may very well be the opportunity to generate some muscle strength that will be needed in the demands of tomorrow.  So don't give up. (James 5:11)
3.  Embrace it.  What??? Embrace the suffering??? I already admitted discipline was sorrowful - why in the world would I embrace it??  Endure,maybe, but embrace??  Why... and how?
    - Why --- because "God deals with you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons" (Hebrews 12:7).  In other words, I realize that discipline is proof that I belong to God and that He loves me as His child.  And His purpose is for my good.  (Genesis 50:20)  If I cling to the absolute truth that He is always sovereign and always loving, then I can accept that whatever happens in my life is allowed by Him....for my good and His glory.
  - How -- by clinging to that truth.  Repeating it over and over to my weary and broken soul.  He is good and He loves me and He is accomplishing His purpose in my life.  2 Thessalonians 1:3 indicates that discipline enlarges our faith and grows our love.  Wow. 
And choosing not to feel sorry for myself - "knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethrent who are in the world" (1 Peter 5:9).  Other people have endured and accomplished - I can, too.
And relying on the comfort God provides to me...and comforting others who are also afflicted.  (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).  Get my eyes off myself and minister to somebody else.

Neglecting these things can cause me to forfeit the fruit God desires to bring about through the dicipline.  But being trained successfully by the discipline God permits in my life allows me to "be considered worthy of the kingdom of God" (2 Thessalonians 1:5) and gives me the opportunity  to  experience the truth of James 1:12 - "Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised t those who love Him".