"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 12:11
There is perhaps no character trait more important to the success of an athlete than discipline. You can have all the God given skills you could ever wish for but, without discipline, they would be merely wasted talents. It is most often defined as: training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character by enforcing obedience. Being disciplined means pressing on when it hurts, doing the right thing when it involves sacrifice and looking out for the good of the team before yourself. You know what has to be done and you just do it. Not because it feels good, but because it is the right thing to do. And you do it because you have been trained by discipline.
To be that person physically, you have to discipline yourself. To be that person spiritually requires the discipline of God, both of which can be painful. But just as you see yourself getting stronger as an athlete through the process, you will see your faith grow stronger too. Training as a Christian and follower of God requires us to sacrifice the things of this world for the things unseen. It requires reading scripture daily and walking "in step" with the Spirit. Galatians 5:25 tells us, "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." To keep in step with our Saviour requires constant examination of our footsteps. Get too far ahead or behind and God's discipline will put you back in step. This is the part that is most times painful but so very necessary. How else can we learn and be trained by it?
But, as you learn to walk with Him (the benefits of discipline) step by step, you will reap the rewards of "righteousness and peace." Oh praise God for training!
Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us so much that you would direct our every step and put us back on track when we stray off course. Whether we know it or not, this keeps us from being hurt by sin and being led into temptation. While it is certainly not pleasant to receive correction, help us to know that it is an essential part of making us the person we need to be... an athlete focused on You, and in step with you every minute of every day. It's in your precious name we pray, Jesus. Amen.
step by step - Michael W. Smith