Hebrews 12:10-11 – “He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 For the moment, all discipline seems not to be pleasant, but painful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
As we begin a new year, has God made you aware of some necessary endings? Maybe you have gotten into the habit of grumbling, slandering, gossiping? Perhaps you need to get some apps off your phone that have become your default to start the day rather than quiet time with God? Maybe you have been overly dependent on food, alcohol, the news, flirtatious inappropriate relationships. For new beginnings, there are necessary endings (Matt. 18:8-9, Eph. 4:22-24).
In his book, The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis reminds us of God’s work through pain: ‘…pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.’
While some pain is out of our control, there may be pain we are bringing on ourselves by not having God and His will as the main driver of our lives. It is easy for us to justify having things in our lives that are innocent in and of themselves. However, anything that is obscuring our sense of God, dampening our spiritual fervor, and increasing its control over our mind and body needs to come to an end. It can be very pleasurable for a time, but eventually it will catch up to us. God seeks to train us through consequences so that we can put off the necessary things that allow for Christ’s reflection. Walking in the fullness of Christ brings far greater joy and fulfillment than whatever it is we are trying to keep.
To walk in the fullness of God we must end whatever is keeping us from being like the first Christians who “…were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” – Acts 2:42