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THE WEEKLY WORD: Disciplined to do good

By Robert Williams, Lead Pastor, The Bridge Church, Charles City

I once heard a pastor say that “Discipline is choosing what I want later over what I want now.”

Discipline isn’t exactly a gift of mine. I struggle with lazy tendencies, especially when I’m not feeling motivated. For this very reason, I’m not sure how my wife puts up with me to this day.

Discipline is difficult. It’s something that you have to work at and it’s not something that comes naturally to most, I find.

I love how the writer of Hebrews put it. He writes that, “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.”

These words ring true as we are disciplined in the home just as much as they do when we are building the discipline to accomplish our goals as adults.

It’s not pleasant being disciplined as a child nor is it pleasant disciplining a child. But then it’s not even pleasant choosing to be disciplined in our habits, either.

This last year I took up running with my friend, Jake, and if I’m honest with you it’s been… unpleasant at times. Don’t get me wrong. I love hanging out with my friend more often and he’s done an incredible job at keeping me accountable, but that doesn’t mean it’s been fun (ha ha).

Getting on a treadmill or out running each morning has been difficult, let alone getting out of bed early. But then, can I tell you how accomplished I felt when I ran the fastest 5k I’ve ever run in my life this Thanksgiving?!

This passage applies to so many facets of life, and if I’ve learned anything this last year, it’s that discipline is vitally important if you want to grow and get better at, well, anything!

You need discipline to get out of bed at a decent time. You need discipline to GO to bed at a decent time. You need discipline in your home, if you want your kids to grow up to be respectable adults themselves.

You need discipline to eat healthy and work out and create healthy habits. You even need discipline to keep the fire alive in your marriage and relationships!

For someone who struggles with laziness, this is extremely difficult for me. Can I encourage you, though?

Every time I’ve given myself over to discipline, I’ve never regretted it. I’ve never regretted choosing what’s harder when I know the harvest it will produce down the road. I’ve never regretted choosing to work out after I’ve done it. I’ve never regretted disciplining myself to eat healthier.

Is it easier? Absolutely not. It’s easier to choose me. It’s easier to choose what I want now. It’s easier to slack off, sleep in, and eat the donut instead of the vegetable. But that will only lead to regret, and it never leads to life.

Can I confess something to you? I even struggle with the discipline of doing good. People can wear on me. The holidays can wear on me. Life’s difficulties can wear on me. And I just lose the will to want to do good like God calls us all to.

But, again, scripture encourages us, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

Translation: There’s a harvest in the discipline of doing good.

This holiday season, that is my prayer for you; that you would be disciplined in doing good. That you would choose the harvest God promises in discipline and goodness. That you would give all of yourself over to discipline, choosing what you know is good over what feels good, choosing what you want later over what you want now.

Then you can reap real rewards that will last, and those around you will do the same.

God bless and Merry Christmas.

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