For the moment, all discipline seems not to be pleasant, but painful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Hebrews 12:11

What do we expect from God? What is it we use to gauge our relationship in closeness, faithfulness and growth? Is it how good things are going? Or maybe it’s how strong we are in overcoming obstacles together?

Neither is correct. God does bless his faithful and he does give us strength to overcome. Things we overcome with ease, however, are hardly fit to be called “discipline”; you can’t expect growth from repetition or from easy tasks. We must undergo correction and trials in order to progress.

Further, this is not an invitation to pick fights. Going out and looking for trouble is antithetical to the Christian way of life (Rom. 12:18; 1 Thes. 4:10-12).

The purpose of trials is for the faithful to exercise faith, to be disciplined in the practice of trusting God to save. We must undergo these hard times in order to make the next hard time easier, and to lighten the load of our fellow believers during their struggles(Gal. 6:1-2).

Take on the discipline as you would any training, not focused on the struggles of the whole process, but step by step toward the goal.

Ethan Kirl