[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]D[/mk_dropcaps]iscipline, as discussed these last few weeks, is not a harsh thing, while it can be painful at times (as we talked about in the first 3 blogs on Discipline). Discipline is an expression of love and intimacy. It is an avenue of increasing our knowledge and strength of character. One last thing about discipline that is important to note is, while restrictive in nature, it also is the key to taking ground. That seems contradictory doesn’t it? To increase you must decrease. Discipline requires a cutting away of behaviors that do not produce the desired outcome. It strengthens our character and our relationship with our Heavenly Father who is the one correcting and directing us. We need that closeness because without God intimately involved in our lives, we cannot produce fruit that lasts. Our efforts, at best, are short lived.
Accepting the discipline of the Lord with a willing and humble heart is what prepares us for the blessings ahead. God cares far more about the heart of a man than He does anything else. He will not give us blessing if the blessing will soon overtake us. We are built to have dominion on the earth, but sometimes we have to rewire some paradigms to be ready to do so effectively.
The next time you get frustrated with what you have to give up to remain disciplined, stop yourself. Flip that thought and realize all the blessings the discipline is creating room for. Over time the cumulative effect of giving everything your very best, waking up early to seek God in prayer, going to workout, being inconvenienced to help someone, slowing down to have that tough conversation with your spouse to bring healing… will all add up. You not only have margin in your life, but an expanse of territory to bless others with. The thing with discipline is the tasks themselves usually are not complicated. They easily can become routine, but so much so we become complacent.
Today I want to remind you, again, that when you remain disciplined doing what God has called you to in this season, (including what is necessary for health) your life will flourish beyond what you imagined. No, the results will not be instantly seen. That is hard to stomach in an instant-gratification society. But the potential reward is worth all the risk and pain of discipline now. That which is produced is worth far more than anything that is cut away. We see this in John 15:2:
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]“Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”[/mk_blockquote]
The cutting away (and the pain) will happen either way. We will not be able to avoid that. But, God reminds us here, when we willingly let Him prune us in the areas of our strengths, it is to bring forth even more than would have been possible before. That is how we take ground. Partnering with the Holy Spirit and letting Him have access to every part of our hearts.