Sunday, January 8, 2012

Discipline that feels good! ....yeah, right!

I'm not always the quickest one when it comes to jokes. When I was younger I remember being at a dinner table with family friends and everyone was laughing and joking around the table. This particular evening, dinner had been cleaned up and the parents were drinking coffee. I was sitting at the table eating dessert while mom and her friend were deep in discussion. As I put down my fork I began to laugh out loud. And for those that know me- I'm sure it was the "BAH!" laugh that is very much "Minda."

My mom looked at me and said "What's so funny?!"

I responded with "I GET IT!!!"

Mom: What do you get?
Minda: The joke! I get it!
Mom: What joke?
Minda: The one dad told earlier at dinner

Yeah. I'm not always the quickest.

I had one of those moments yesterday while reading. And sad to say- this one took about 27 years to get. Ok, maybe not REALLY 27 years since I've not been reading the bible for all 27 years that I've been alive- but you get the point.

This particular verse is one that I've known, I've memorized, I've quoted, I've used countless times.

But yesterday, I got it.

Hebrews 12: 11 "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."

This verse I've always known and felt as though it were self explanatory. It's easy. It makes sense. It's not a verse that needs to be expounded on much (or so I thought.) It's not a tricky verse that you need someone to explain to you! (And believe me- there are lots of verses in the bible I consider tricky)

I've thought about this verse in regards to parenting. When you do something wrong, you get disciplined. It hurts (there was no rod spared in our house) and you learn NOT to do the same thing again. Later on you gain wisdom and learn right from wrong.

Same way in relation to spiritual matters. We mess up- we face consequences. They are not fun- but needed so that we learn our lesson. Right?

So yeah, um, no. Well, not really.

{insert weird transition}

So today wraps up an 8-day liquids only fast for me. The bible talks often about people 'fasting and praying' and at my church in Texas, each year at the beginning of the year- we were challenged to start the year off with a fast. (which is also the only reason i'm POSTING about the fast. I'm used to living in a city in which 15,000 other people are joining me in the fast- so all of my friends knew anyways. Not like I'm giving away secret information) Giving the first of our year to the Lord. If you want more details on the 'why' in regards to a fast- let's chat. I'd love to fill you in.

But fasting is something that has become a part of my walk with the Lord that is GOOD. Basically I put myself in a place in which I say I command my stomach to come into alignment with my heart and soul. Again, even as I write this I can see how it sounds a bit cooky- but hang with me.

In the past when I have fasted, the Lord always does something HUGE in my heart. Revelation is JUMPING off the pages of my bible and seriously. I can't even stand it. Typically this happens around day 4 for me if I'm doing a week long fast.

This week was MUCH different. Day 4 came and went. Day 5 came and went. Day 6 came and went. I didn't feel as though there was any particular 'focus' for this particular fast. I didn't feel as though there was anything in particular that needed to be prayed for. I just felt as there was no point to the fast.

And then day 7 came. I was reminded of this verse:

Hebrews 12: 11 "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."

This particular fast. It was not a matter of getting an answer to a specific prayer. It was not a matter of hearing the Lord for anything specific. This fast. It was a matter of learning a fast is a spiritual discipline. Not discipline as in PUNISHMENT....but discipline as in activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill (the skill being my ability to hear the Lord.)
Was it pleasant? Let me assure you, this particular one...not at all. Saying no to food for 8 straight days never is.

"Later on, however, it will produce a harvest of righteousness and peace" and let me tell you. THAT is what I want a harvest of. I don't want a harvest of frustration, laziness, and chaos. I want a harvest of righteousness and peace.

Now, I should also point out a verse in Matthew that says "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting...But when you fast- don't make it obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father who sees what is done in secret." (which is why I put the disclaimer at the beginning that I'm used to fasting with 15,000 people and being around people who already know i'm fasting). I'm not writing this to say "look what I've done" but rather: there are LOTS of areas in which we need to build spiritual disciplines. It could be in regards to fasting, praying, reading His Word, serving, encouraging, teaching....all sorts of things.' God knows it's not easy. He knows it's painful. But He knows what it produces in us. And He knows it's good for us.

I don't LOVE going to the gym. It's painful to run. But I do it. I know it produces something good in me.

I don't LOVE setting my alarm and getting up to go to work. But I do it. It produces a paycheck.

I don't LOVE taking out the trash. But I do it. It makes my apartment smell nicer and keeps rodents away.

We all have disciplines that we've built into our lives.

Let's build some into our spiritual walk with the Lord.

1 comment:

  1. Good word sister, good word! I associate that verse a lot with Mr. Ramsey as well...which makes me think of you :)

    izehi

    ReplyDelete