Summer is a time where many of us have that little bit of extra time in our schedule to do with as we please. For me, that means I finally get around to all of the things I have been wanting to do, but simply did not have enough time for during the rest of the year. AKA Goals, aspirations, book lists, exercise habits, eating habits, money budgeting, the list is endless. It seems like every day I find another thing to add to my summer goal list. The hard part, however, is actually creating the time and space to accomplish those things and do what you want to do. Life happens, you get tired and want to veg on the couch or sleep in that extra five minutes, and before you know it, the summer is over and it is back to a packed schedule and shorter days.
This summer, I am stepping up and not letting the long days pass me by. But, I did not realize how hard it is to form new habits. Sleep seems so much more vital in the morning than when I set my alarm the night before, and it seems so much easier to watch a quick show on Netflix (or maybe two, or three) than to read a couple chapters of that book, or my Bible.
Thankfully, quite a long time ago, I wrote this verse on a notecard and placed it on my wall. Normally I walk right past it, but today I paused and read it over again and thanked God for his sovereign timing and wisdom.
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.
I would encourage you to read Hebrews 11 and 12 in their entirety to fully understand the context and direction of the entire passage. Chapter 11 speaks of all the great people throughout the history of the Bible and chapter 12 goes on to encourage those in the present day to not give up. Now the content of this particular passage in chapter 12 discusses discipline as discipline in the form of hardship or similar to that of a father disciplining his child. Discipline is a part of training a child in the way he or she should go, meaning it is not always an act when the child misbehaves or makes a mistake, but a constant presence guiding and directing the path of that child to help him or her learn and grow to one day become a mature adult.
Sometimes God can give us the direction or desire and it is up to us to obey and take those steps of forming the habits that will set us up for success in what he wants to do in us and through us.
How are we able to do this?
Verses 2 and 3 tell us to look at the life of Jesus for our example of someone who did not give up and lived a life devoted and disciplined, because his eyes were focused on the joy set before him.
What is the result?
Like verse 11 above says, discipline produces a harvest of righteousness and peace.
Maybe the discipline you are experiencing is in the form of a trial, or maybe it is in the form of creating new habits to take you to the next level in your relationship with God or his call on your life. Whatever it may be, I encourage you to keep pressing on and take a look at the two verses following verse 11:
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
Hebrews 12:12-13 (NIV)
The discipline, that leveling of the paths for your feet, is worth it, the harvest of righteousness and peace is coming!
…to be continued…
This blog post is one of a two-part series about discipline and creating new habits.