Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Specific Character

At the time, discipline isn’t much fun...
Later, of course,
it pays off handsomely,
for it’s the well-trained
who find themselves mature
in their relationship with God.

Hebrews 12:11 (The Message)

It hurts me more than it hurts you were the most ridiculous words I heard as a child. How could being disciplined possibly hurt my parents more than it hurt me? It made absolutely no sense until years later when I found myself disciplining my own child. My intention was to bring about the definition of discipline—a specific character or pattern of behavior. I found that disciplining, like being disciplined, hurts like crazy. Good discipline isn’t given or received easily.

If a relationship with God is our desire it’s a guarantee that discipline will be involved. Avoiding or resisting the challenging moments of our lives can become the wall that prevents us from seeing God moving us towards a specific character or pattern of behavior. Allowing the pain of what is happening now keeps us distracted from discovering who we are and what God may want us to become.

Athletes speak of breaking through a barrier in the midst of training. Discipline gets them through. Experiencing the pain, the hardship, the crises of our lives and yet break through the barrier, is to discover the handsome pay off–a well-trained, mature relationship with God.

Perhaps God is saying, “It hurts me more than it hurts you,” but, inflicting pain isn’t what he’s after. His discipline has a break through goal in mind.

Jesus, I don’t like being disciplined.
It hurts! I need your help to break
through the barrier and discover
who you want me to be.

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