Closing the Gap 3.9.18

Week 9 Day 5

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 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.

Reflect:

Delayed gratification is the ability to see in the present difficulty the long-term good.  To delay gratification is to embrace discipline, or discipleship.  Discipline does not despise gratification; it just has a “long view” of it.  It wants the gratification that lasts a long time and leaves no bitter “after taste.” Immediate gratification often causes long-term misery. Why is this?…Because the long view of what will gratify or satisfy is very different than the short view.  The short view wants pleasure and relief from pain.  The long view wants the real good…the glory of God and the good of others.  The long view leads to wise choices and a deep inner development.  The short view leads to foolish choices and leaves a person with a “hollow core.”  Learning to value what is valuable and to refuse to give our lives to what is not valuable can be a painful. It is not like running to the store and picking up some junk food to satisfy a feeling of hunger.  It is more like plowing a field, then planting seeds, then watering, weeding, and waiting for the plants to grow.  Then finally after much working and waiting, you experience the gratification of a harvest of discipline.  Discipline is not just about final products. It is about the process itself.  Immediate gratification wants what it wants now.  The process is the enemy of desire.  The process stands in the way of relief right now.  On the other hand, long-term gratification has learned that the process itself is part of the benefit.  The harvest of peace and righteousness is a product of the process. The process is not the enemy of gratification; the process is the path to lasting gratification. Will you see the long-term good in the short-term discipline?  Will you refuse to trade what is ultimately valuable for what merely brings temporary relief?  Close the gap today; see beyond right now as you make your decisions about what you will do and who you will be.  See with the eyes of faith to what will matter most at the end.  What will matter most then matters most now.  What will matter most then will be faith expressing itself in love.  That is what matters most right now.

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)

Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

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