Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cherishing Discipline

Well, day #2 of my healthy eating plan is coming to a close. It wasn't a perfect day, but thankfully this journey is not about perfection. You know, I truly think the first day is almost always the hardest for me to actually get started. However, the second day and days following, I am usually quite tempted to go into auto pilot. Auto pilot meaning- follow the plan, check off my little boxes, and ignore the heart work that needs to take place. But because hindsight is always 20/20 (I have LOTS of hindsight); I know that if I ignore the heart work, I will most definitely find myself getting a do over once more! When I mention heart work, I am not talking about having a visit with Dr. Phil. I am referring listening to the Holy Spirit and applying the scripture to my heart.

With that in mind, I thought I would share a few of the verses that have spoken to me in the last month as well as a few of my thoughts. I desire for these scriptures to make it on a note card with the hope of committing them to memory. Let the heart work begin!

"The sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time he looks and but finds nothing."
Proverbs 20:4
When I read over this verse the first time, my cute little jean jacket came to mind- true statement. I'll be honest, this scripture reveals my own vanity, yet it speaks to me deeply. I have an entire closet full of clothes (really cute clothes) that I cannot currently wear. Yes, I did just have a baby but that was 7 months ago! And I cannot kid myself, those clothes were beginning not to fit before I was pregnant. How do I expect to fit into that cute little jacket when it gets cold if I don't do the work now? When fall comes, which happens to be right around the corner, I really would like to wear my fall clothes. But, it won't happen if I continue to imitate the sluggard and do nothing but ponder at my own obstinate heart.

"My sons, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they though best; but God disciplines us for our good that me may share in His holiness. 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." Hebrews 12: 5b-11

There is so much here and I am in no way attempting to do a exegeses of this scripture. I am however greatly relating to the fact that no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but that later on it will produce a harvest or righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
I cannot tell you how many times Tim and I have shared this scripture with our children. It's never fun to discipline them. When we discipline them we want to encourage them that first, we love them, thus we discipline them. And second, it is for their good as followers of Christ that we discipline in order for them to produce a harvest of righteousness and peace.

The same can be said for me. It is not fun to be under the Lord's discipline, but painful. The last few months have been agonizing. I have flirted with the truth that I need to submit my own sinful desires to Him and yield. I have heard His voice and pulled back and pretended that I didn't quite comprehend. I actually got to a point where I was utterly confused, wondering if this area of my life was even sin! Oh how our own hearts can deceive us. "All a man's ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart." Proverbs 21:2

I feel I must make one thing clear. I really don't think the Lord is concerned with my "weight loss goal". What I do think He's concerned about is my heart. The dreaded heart work...
Going to Scripture with questions like, "Why do I love this sin?" "How many minutes or hours a day am I consumed with thoughts of me and my appearance instead of delighting in the Maker of Heaven and Earth?" or "What does the Scripture say about how I conducting my life and living out my days?". These are the things that I must place at His Throne of Grace and plead with Him to change my heart to desire to do His will!

Lest you are tempted to be enchanted or commend me for my walk with the Lord, please know that I am oh so prone to wander-and quickly! I echo the apostle Paul, "What wretched man that I am, who will rescue me from this body of death! Thanks be to God- through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7:24-25a. It is only by the grace of God and His glorious Gospel that I am not eternally damned.

I rejoice that the Lord is patient and gentle. (Matthew 11:28-30). He is a loving Father who disciplines me for my good that later I might reap a harvest of righteousness for His glory. He is teaching me how to relinquish control to Him and trust Him with the deepest complexities of my heart. When I begin to fret how I will make it on day #3, He reminds me not to worry about tomorrow as today has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)

Lastly, as I previously stated in an earlier
post, I am learning that self-discipline is not about me controlling my sinful desires. It's about submitting, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to the Almighty God, saying no to sin and yes to Him. I am still learning to cry out to my Maker (Psalm 107) and to trust Him as He walks me through this time of discipline. That later, one day I might share in His holiness and reap a life of righteousness and peace.

Until next time,

Missy

1 comment:

Tim Linkletter said...

wow...wow...wow

loved this part:

"I have flirted with the truth that I need to submit my own sinful desires to Him and yield. I have heard His voice and pulled back and pretended that I didn't quite comprehend. I actually got to a point where I was utterly confused, wondering if this area of my life was even sin! Oh how our own hearts can deceive us."

So true of me as well, what a great perspective to start out with today.

I love you,

T