Discipline is necessary

My Advent reading got me stalled… again. That is the beauty of Scripture for me. I can be humming along in my reading plan and then come to a screeching halt because of a passage where the Holy Spirit will say, “Stop here.” 

Right now it’s Hebrews 12. The reading was in the latter part of the chapter, but the Spirit has me camped in the chapter.

Today it is v. 11

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.

There is reward. When I physically exercise, there is reward. (At least I’ve heard that somewhere. I’ve not really tested that theory…) I think of that old commercial where the tagline was: “No pain… no gain.”

Spiritually, it’s the same.

I am challenged physically to get back to disciplining my body. Happens every year. My goal is to not lie down until the feeling goes away this time.

But I also need to keep my spirit and body challenged together.

The first of the year I am going on an extended fast (partial fast at least) to challenge my body and my spirit. I will invite my church to join in some aspect of this fast. It is a challenge to get our bodies disciplined as spiritual tools. It is to pray for our nation and the American church as we enter into a new presidential era. It is to pray for the American church to become the church again… maybe for the first time (again).

It is time to enter into the arena of spiritual discipline at a new level. It is to be aware of God’s presence in our lives and carry that presence into our world.

I invite others to join me in the fast in some way. Fast one day. Fast one day a week. Fast a couple of days a week. Fast a meal. Fast several meals. And in all that fasting… pray. Not just for America. For the American church. Not just for a president. For our communities. For the Church to wake up from its slumber. Not because of a new president, but because we’ve been asleep and we need to repent and wake up. The Lord needs us to produce Kingdom fruit once again.

Let the new year be a kind of marker for us. Let it begin with a fresh spiritual awakening in our own lives.

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