Life At Its Best: Embrace discipline to better yourself

By Jim Graff
May 2, 2014 at 12:02 a.m.

Discipline is like physical exercise. It's seldom pleasant in the moment. We often look for ways to avoid it. But in the end, receiving the long-term rewards we desire requires fully embracing it.

I learned this when I was arguing with my mom at the dinner table one day. We'd been bickering back and forth for several minutes until, finally, I threw out my most clever rebuttal. She became silent. Everybody around the table knew I was right, including me. I dismissed myself and started my victory walk to my room.

Minutes later, my dad walked in. He asked, "You're feeling pretty good about yourself, huh?" I answered that I was. He changed that feeling pretty quickly when he looked at me sternly and said, "You will never dishonor your mother like that again."

Then, he explained the importance of honor. He helped me see that down the road, doing right would produce much greater rewards than simply being right. Then, he quoted his favorite phrase, "Remember, if I'm hard on you now, it'll be easier on you later."

In that moment, it wasn't what I wanted to hear, but looking back, I'm so thankful I had a dad who was willing to bring correction. He knew I had dreams in my heart I wanted to see fulfilled. He believed in the potential my life held. But he also recognized that to reach them, I had to learn to embrace discipline.

The same is true for each of us. We all have wrong habits that can hinder our potential. We often try to hide or ignore them. We feel uncomfortable when they're revealed. But the truth is to be overcome, they must be addressed. We must be willing to embrace the temporary discomfort of discipline so that we can ultimately reach the long-term outcomes we desire.

Embracing discipline starts with recognizing its source. We have to evaluate who is bringing discipline into our lives. The Bible is clear that correction from our authorities is to be openly received. However, we're not to respond to the advice of everyone.

There are many people who simply enjoy identifying flaws in others, so we must pursue relationships with others who we know want the best for us. We must also identify people who are living with the outcomes we want to experience.

Then, we must choose to respond well. The Bible says that no discipline is pleasant in the moment. That's why we resist it. Instead, we must remember that the reward of discipline outlives its temporary discomfort.

Don't let your initial feelings determine your response. Instead, choose to reflect on the guidance you've received. Recognize that it was given to benefit, not belittle you. Know that, when you apply it, you'll begin to receive the rewards you desire.

Who's bringing positive change to your life? I encourage you to connect to godly mentors. Accept and apply their correction. Embrace discipline today and watch where it will take you.

Jim Graff is the senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria.



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