The Best Fruit Takes Time
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. —Hebrews 12:11
There's so much honesty in Hebrews 12:11: “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant.” Discipline seems painful because it is inconvenient, difficult, and uncomfortable, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Discipline is like plowing a field. After the soil has been ripped and furrowed and the sowing has taken place, nothing happens for a while. If you’re patient, there’s fruit coming. God’s Word describes it as the peaceful fruit of righteousness, capturing the way righteousness, like fruit, emerges gradually over the growing season. The result of being trained by discipline is a deep sense of satisfaction in God’s work—much like a farmer’s joy at harvest time.
Remember, we are not the first Christians who have ever lived. The whole “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7) adventure has been going on for dozens and dozens of generations. Five hundred years ago there were people who thought they were the first to face trials like we do today. They thought their experiences were new just like we think ours are new—even as the mothballs are gathering around our feet. The pages of church history are filled with people who have leaned fully on the truths we’re learning right now and have proven God faithful in their generation. With His help, we'll do the same.
Our faithful predecessors would say the trial you may be facing now will turn out to be for your ultimate good. It may not seem so today, but it will.
Unfortunately, there’s not a “growth meter” you can consult to get a digital read on the up-to-the-minute rate of growth. But take a look back over the last few years. If you have been a follower of Jesus, you should be able to notice significant development.
Do you see the peaceful fruit of righteousness growing in your life? Do you see yourself changed by God’s training? Of course, that growth is conditional upon your cooperation with what God is doing. The good He is bringing to your life can be seen only through the perspective of time.
God has designed trials for your transformation, so you might stand in that long line of generations of Christians—“so great a cloud of witnesses,” says Hebrews 12:1—who would shout out to you today, “Keep going. Good is coming. It’ll all be worth it. Don’t give up! Look to Jesus.” The process may not be pleasant, but the fruit God brings about in your life will be worth it!
Lord, I remember the Psalms say our times are in Your hands. I’d like to believe I’m growing, but most of the time I feel frustrated and failing. I know Your timing is not mine, and in the end, it’s Your timing that will be the pace of my story. But I long to do whatever You want me to do, bringing in the harvest related to my own life and Your Kingdom. Please guide my working and waiting as I discover each day what it means to have my times in Your hands. In Jesus’ name, amen.