“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. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.”
Over the last few weeks, I’ve learnt a painful but valuable lesson, one which could permanently affect the way I live, how I move, and what I’m able to accomplish with my family. On a family trip to Mt. Kinabalu, I suffered a painful injury to my knee while carrying my youngest daughter on an uphill forest trail. I believe God is teaching me a spiritual lesson and reminding me to strengthen my aging body.
As God’s children, may we continue to allow Him to discipline us and follow His instructions, training, and correction to strengthen the body and carry those who are weaker than ourselves. All discipline involves pain. Jim Rohn says, “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” As for me, I choose the pain of discipline for a harvest of righteousness and peace.
1. Strengthen by Training
“Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, and for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action).” 2 Timothy 3:16 AMP
The Word of God is His given instrument of training in righteousness and discipline in obedience. It’s how we use it that determines its effectiveness. In 1 Corinthians 9:27, Paul talks about athletes who exercise self-control and discipline their bodies to attain an imperishable prize. He then takes measures to model this in his own body for the Body of Christ lest he himself is disqualified. We may not know exactly what he did to stay strong and fit but what we know is that he had to endure a lot of physical hardship and spiritual battles.
I propose to you that the instructions have been laid out before us in the Book – it’s now a season to be trained and disciplined in obedience. As Timothy said, “So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:17 AMP
2. Strengthen by Bearing
“We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” Rom 15:1
These words conjure a vision of an ox that takes the yoke upon his back and ploughs the field before the harvest – definitely not for the faint of heart or those with weak knees. Oxen are symbols of patience, tirelessness, and successful labour in service to others. Prov 14:4 says, “Where no oxen are, the trough is clean, but much increase comes by the strength of an ox.” There’s a call for those who are strong to bear the scruples of the weak. It’s one thing to be strong, it takes greater strength to bear another’s burden.
The question we’ve to ask ourselves is how have we harnessed our strengths for a bountiful harvest? Have we been trained in righteousness and disciplined by the Word of God? How can the efforts of individuals be harnessed to lift up those who are in need? I’m reminded of the yoke we must carry – our own cross we must carry daily to the finish line.
In so doing, our Father disciplines us to set us apart from the world to walk on the path of righteousness. This forms attitudes and behaviours in us that lead to holiness. As I rehabilitate my knee and strengthen my body, I work towards the day I can climb the mountain with my daughter again.
“And make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.” Heb 12:13
3. Strengthen by Praying
We can be strengthened by prayers. Jesus prayed for Peter in Luke 22:32, “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” There were many occasions in my life where my faith would’ve been shaken or failed if not for the prayers of the Lord and the saints.
Praying together makes way for mutual love by bringing us all into the same position – weak and strong. On our knees together, we’re levelled. A company of praying people is a company of people equally dependent on God. The most eloquent spiritual giant and the most timid believer can pray boldly together because Jesus prays for them both.
So I encourage you to come for our next Churchwide Prayer on 6 March, as we lift up the hands which hang down, strengthen our feeble knees. And bear each other’s burdens that the weak may say ‘I am strong.’ Joel 3:10