No Pain, No Gain

“Discipline yourself for the purpose of Godliness.” 1 Timothy 4:7 NAS

“Discipline requires saying yes to some things, which demands your saying no to others.”

My thoughts today are about “no pain, no gain.”

You have heard the expression every athlete knows from experience, “No pain, no gain!” In the spring our son, Bruce, decided to prepare himself for his first mini-triathlon. I am in awe of his dedication to a regimen of a healthy diet and training in the three physical skills that were required – swimming, cycling, and running. Whether early mornings before work or in the evenings before bed, he could be found practicing and improving his skills to reach his goal of fitness and achievement.

He successfully finished his first mini-triathlon, and two others since then – because he embraced the necessary discipline. It was time consuming and hard, but essential. He learned the Bible principle, “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it is painful! But afterward, there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” Hebrews 12:11 NLT.

The athlete who desires to be their best embraces the discipline of time and effort needed to perfect the skills of their sport. The student who wishes to excel academically understands the required discipline of hours upon hours of study when tired or even when preferring to do less. Others may; you cannot. The musician who wishes to master their instrument devotes themselves to the necessity of countless hours of practice and years of learning. The craftsman that takes pride in their work devotes a lifetime to its exercise and mastery.

A disciple is one who willingly embraces the training and disciplines of another, choosing to enforce upon themselves the self-discipline required. Discipline requires saying yes to some things, which demands your saying no to others. If you are to be a disciple of Jesus, you must welcome the discipline essential to shape your heart, renew your mind, conform your will, and train your spirit to know and walk in the truth, that you may daily be conformed to the character and conduct of Jesus. Read Romans 8:28-29 NIV.

The Bible has much to say on the subject of spiritual discipline, teaching that God’s discipline is only and always rooted firmly in His love for you. “Those whom He loves, He disciplines . . and corrects.” Read Hebrews 12:1-13 NLT. There is no reason to bother with the discipline of someone for whom you have no regard, no plans for their well being or future. God has your best at heart, not your harm – your gain, not your pain – your growth, not your loss. See Jeremiah 29:11 NIV.

The Word of God demands a discipline of understanding. The will of God imposes the discipline of obedience and boundaries to your freedom. The Spirit of God provides specific instruction and direction for everyday life. To be a true disciple of Jesus Christ spiritual discipline cannot be optional. Jesus said, “If any man will be my disciple, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23 NIV. Self-denial, sacrifice, and obedience are the spiritual disciplines necessary for spiritual growth and maturity.

My prayer for you today is that your discipline be directed to a noble purpose, Godliness.