“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11)
The adventure of following Jesus brings out a lot of different emotions. There are times when we are on fire for the Lord, His presence feels strong and we have received tangible miracles or blessings from Him.
In these times, our relationship with Jesus feels easy and so full of love. As a result, spending time with God through prayer, reading the Bible and worship becomes easier as well. In fact, spending time with Jesus comes naturally, and no longer feels like the drag or obligation it may have felt like in the past. We live our lives fully embracing the joy He gives us, exactly how He calls us to do.
Unfortunately, these moments of encouragement can sometimes feel few and far apart. There are times in our lives when God feels distant, and we do not understand why He is not working in our lives in as obvious ways as before. It is important to not allow our fleeting, inconsistent emotions to dictate our relationship with Jesus, who is constant and perfect.
Lamentations 3:25-26 says, “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” The Bible is God’s affirmation of faithfulness to those who seek Him.
Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” We must be disciplined in our faith, trusting God and remaining patient and faithful to Him, just as He is with us.
As necessary as it is to approach our faith as a discipline, do not mistranslate “discipline” as pursuing your relationship with Jesus solely out of duty. Beautiful things manifest in times of waiting, and we grow in ways that we would not have without trials. It would be a shame to waste an opportunity to exercise our faith and trust, as we can use times like these to grow in our relationship with the Lord.
Romans 5:13 states, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Not everything in life comes easy, and our relationship with the Lord definitely is not one of them. So, invest in your relationship with Jesus and you will reap the reward, which is a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him.
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