January 13 - Delightful Discipline?

By Douglas W. Martin

Today's Scripture: Proverbs 3:11-12

Central Thought: Discipline requires lots of submission and hard work, but the reward is worth it.

    Every four years the world gathers in the summer for athletic contests. The sense of thrill and delight permeates the air of the crowds that watch the contest—some in person; others around the world, via television.

    Divers leap and twist through incredible maneuvers and then barely ripple the pools as they slice in perfectly. Swimmers rise from their positions as arms flash through the water and seem to effortlessly propel them in record time. Hurdlers quickly sail just inches above obstacles and down the track to break the ribbon. Gymnasts spin and gyrate from a crossbar, set of rings, or a pommel horse to a graceful landing with their hands raised in a 'V” for victory as a huge smile spreads across their faces and they await the judges' results.

    The public venue of the Olympics is the showcase of the result of many years of disciplined training. Mistakes are made. And trainers give corrective instructions in the privacy of a practice facility that is tucked away from the public ear. 'No! No! No! You are not doing it right! This is the better way! Do this!” may echo incessantly around tracks and pools and floor exercise mats. Rebellion and resentment may simmer beneath the surface of the student, but the prize and the goal of 'winning the Gold” help the student submit, amid inner struggle, to the continued tutelage of the proven coach.

    Our inner struggles with God's voice are no different. We feel the correction of His Word. We hear the leading of His Holy Spirit. We feel the tension of the counsel of our own heart playing against His steady hand. And at times we may feel rebellion and resentment threatening to cause us to quit or to take over our own training. It is then we need to remember the delight of winning. God delights in us so He brings us discipline. When we endure the discipline, we can delight in doing well.

Devotional Prayer: Lord, You delight in me and desire nothing more or less than the best for me. You rebuke and discipline me so that I might find the delight of doing well. Help me, Lord, to remember that there is an unmatched delight in glorifying You with my life. People who are watching my performance need to see You!

Today's Bible Reading: Genesis 28:1-29:35; Matthew 9:18-38; Psalm 11:1-7; Proverbs 3:11-12