The difference between this Thursday and other Thursdays, is that I had a dentist appointment to attend. Now I am not a huge fan of the dentist. However, I was talking to my friend and she said to me, "You don't like going? Just think of how clean your teeth will feel after!" My response was very quick but the impact was huge. I said, "Its the process that I don't enjoy. The end result is always good but the process sucks."
How many times do we find our Christian walk like that. We want to experience the "end result", but we don't really want to go through the process. In Hebrews 12:3-11, the author gives us a powerful imagery of God as our Spiritual Father. Check this out:
3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.
4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.
5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,
“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you.
6 For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father?
8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.
9 Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?
10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness.
11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
How many times have we tried to take the short cut and avoid the discipline? How many times have we tried to avoid the dentist chair only to realize that it is going to cost us (both figuratively and literally) more in the long run?
The next time you're going through something where you're feeling the loving discipline of God, remember that it might be difficult in the moment, but in the long run, it will cause you to grow and mature and have lasting benefits.
The pain is over, my pocket book is emptied and my teeth are clean! Keep smiling! It makes those dentist's bills worth it!
Never Lose the Passion