Hebrews 12:11 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.
There are all kinds of harvests, because there are all kinds of seeds planted. Sometimes God drops seeds into our hearts, as here, and sometimes the devil does, as in the parable of the weeds. (Matthew 13:24-30) As in yesterday’s reading, we do a lot of sowing, in cooperation with either God or the devil. It’s no secret what produces the best crop! We frankly don’t like it when God sows discipline into our lives, but we can be grateful when the harvest time comes. The devil tries to deceive us as to what is actually going on, so that we will rejoice in the weeds and grumble about the discipline, but as always, he is a liar who never desires good for us. (John 8:44; 10:10) If we choose to turn and tune our hearts to God, He will give us wisdom to distinguish between good seed and bad, and refuse the bad, but strictly on our own, we won’t make the right choices. We’ve got to remember that James’ famous admonition begins with, “Submit to God.” Only then can we “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) We also need to remember that this is an ongoing process for as long as we are on this earth. The devil doesn’t give up, so we must not either. He doesn’t much care exactly what damage he does to us, just so long as he does damage us. That damage might not be in overt sin, but might be as subtle as stealing our peace and joy. We are to submit to God on every level so that we won’t let that thief steal anything from us!
This of course applies to me. People expect that a pastor who’s been walking with the Lord for as long as I have would automatically welcome the Lord’s discipline and would need very little of it. That might logically be the case, but I can be very illogical! I have tasted the fruit of submission to God, and it is good indeed. I have also tasted the fruit of ignoring God, and that is bitter ashes. As I say in my Faith Declarations, “By the grace of God, each day I am more accurately hearing and obeying the Holy Spirit, for it is written, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ By the grace of God, each day I am more accurately detecting and resisting Satan, for it is written, ‘Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’” That has got to be more than words; it must be my consistent practice, so that I will walk in all that God intends for me and yield nothing to the devil.
Father, thank You for this strong reminder. Thank You for all You are doing on so many levels. Thank You for the physical seeds I could plant in the garden yesterday, and for today’s rain. I pray that on every level I may reap the harvest that You desire and intend, for the blessing of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!