Hebrews 12:11 "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace."
Discipline is not a pleasant word, raising thoughts of discomfort, often of punishment. As God's dear children we cannot miss its meaning. "The Lord disciplines those He loves" (Proverbs 3:12), says the holy writer, pointing even to God's redeeming love in Jesus. Discipline is training. Often it tests our submission to the divine will, tries our patience and piety, even our faith in the Savior, who has promised to sustain us.
We remember how God's servant Job was chastened -- and Saint Paul (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) and the Christians at Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11). From them we learn that if we do not feel the discomfort of discipline, we can derive no profit from it. If it were not painful at the moment, it could not result in blessings later.
But there is a "later." Discipline is like a tree. It requires time and cultivation to produce the ripened fruit of peace and righteousness. It always contains the fruitful seed of future joys. It is the spring pruning of our vines that, in God's judgment, is needed to make us fruitful. May we wait patiently in discipline for the later blessings! They will surely come.
PRAYER: Lord, discipline me in Your love, but enable me always to see its purpose so that I may draw closer to my Savior. Amen.
(Taken from "Words of Promise," copyright 1996, Concordia Publishing House (out of print). For information on other devotional materials, call 1-800 325-3040.)
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