How Discipline Helps Our Relationship with Jesus

Posted by Naomi Vacaro on

Discipline makes us more like Him
Jordan Sparnroft

I don’t get good feelings when I hear the word ‘discipline’. The word initially makes me feel tense and has a sense best described by the word, ‘ugh’. However, I find myself craving discipline when the whirlwind of life: illness, unscheduled events, and responsibilities begin to fill my days and wreck the routines and rhythms (disciplines) I have in place. It’s when life gets so full that I don’t exercise for a month and my quiet time wanes, that I begin to realize the impact these disciplines have on my life. 

The impact they had on my life was rest. Those disciplines provided me rest even when I wasn’t able to perform them. My body was able to rest and recharge, relying on the muscles and immune system I had built. When my body was well and life settled down, I could start working out again and my body knew exactly what to do because of the discipline I had implemented in the previous months. 

I was able to rest in Jesus’ grace during my time of illness because for years, I had daily been in His word, reading about the grace that changes everything. All the mornings when it felt painful to forgo sleep to spend time with Jesus and the evenings when I obeyed His call, shut off Netflix, and spent time with Him, were paying off. I was able to rest in the grace of knowing that my Savior knows how life can be and His love for me is not changed by my ability or inability to spend time with Him. 

Discipline brings us rest and peace. When we train ourselves for godliness as 1 Timothy promises, we will experience benefits in this life and in the next. If we’ve been faithfully reading scripture about God, who He is, and what He promises, in our seasons of rest, our spiritual discipline will pay off when the storms come. We will reap a harvest of peace in the midst of chaos because we have been trained by His holiness and we are confident in His promises ingrained into our hearts. 

Discipline is not punishment. Discipline is to correct negative behavior; it is for our good. Punishment is payment for a wrong action. Jesus has already made the payment for our debt on the cross! God does not punish us because Jesus took the punishment for us. Do not ever believe the lie that you are being punished when life is demanding endurance and discipline. Rather, God wants to use your discomfort to make you more like Him. 

What I’ve found is that the more you seek God and His righteousness, the more likely you are to experience discomfort. You’re probably thinking, “Oh great!” But once you get a taste of His presence, you can even start looking forward to the discomfort, knowing that He will draw you nearer through that discipline. He wants to make you look more like Him. If you've seen, known, and experienced the person of Jesus Christ, you know how beautiful he is. He wants to transform you into something beautiful, someone that radiates His holiness. 

Hebrews 12:10b-11 says, “...but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. 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.” 

God promises us that

  • Discipline is for our good - it makes us look more like Jesus.
  • Discipline is not always pleasant and often painful. 
  • Discipline produces a harvest of righteousness and peace if we allow ourselves to be trained by it.
  Jordan Sparnroft lives in historic central Virginia with her husband and daughter. She is a first-grade teacher at a Christian school and loves early mornings and spending time with her family.
Busy Christian Living Discipline habits illness motivation Quiet Time Rest Spiritual Growth

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