By Brooke Holt
“No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).
Earlier this week, I wrote about the discipline of making it to a 5:45 a.m. workout. When the alarm sounded, I didn’t want to move a muscle. Getting out of bed was painful. Even getting myself out of the car and into class required willpower. Then, the workout was difficult. Stay with me though, because after the workout, I felt the fruit of my discipline – energy, joy, and a deep sense of accomplishment.
Just as we receive this fruit from our physical workouts, our spiritual workouts yield the same fruit. Yet we wrestle with arising early for that morning Bible reading and prayer; struggle to commit to meeting weekly with a small group through the season of Lent; or find it challenging to get to Sunday worship. However, such discipline brings the fruits of peace and righteousness (see Hebrews 12:11). The spiritual life with Jesus is not meant to be easy. Remember the words of Jesus: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow, and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14).
Just as it is much easier to sit on the couch and watch television than to go out for a run or to the gym, it is much easier to skip Bible study, church, prayer, and personal devotions. Ask yourself these questions: what is the fruit of exercising my physical muscles, and what is the fruit of exercising my spiritual muscles? Isn’t it worth it to get up early, to have that quiet time with the Lord, to fellowship with your brother and sisters in worship on Sunday morning? And for a world where people feel desperately lonely since the pandemic, isn’t it worth it to get out of the house and meet with your small group? Small groups offer a fantastic place to build meaningful friendships!
This Lent, will you get off the wide road, the easy road, and walk along the narrow road of implementing spiritual disciplines? Just as I would encourage an athlete training for her first triathlon to envision herself on race day, to see the finish line, and to imagine her joy upon crossing that line, so I will encourage you to envision yourself standing before the Lord to give a report on your life. Did you become the person he created you to be? Have you completed the work he has set before you? Have you been trained in the fruit of peace and righteousness?
Forty days of spiritual discipline will help prepare you for that glorious day – let the training begin!
Are you willing to press through the discomfort of spiritual training this Lenten season? Spend some time envisioning what your spiritual growth could look like this Lent and then make the commitment to train daily. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Jesus’ great commission to his apostles after his resurrection was to go into all the world to preach, teach, and baptize in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From the very beginning, baptism has been understood as the doorway into this new kind of family. Explore what Jesus expects of this new family that finds its origin and purpose in him. The baptized are called into a new life of faith. From passages in Matthew to the shining examples of faith in our passage from John, Waters of Baptism is a helpful resource for those seeking the sacrament of baptism or those who want a deeper understanding of their faith. This six week study will help us understand the importance of baptismal living
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