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The Joy and Pain of New

A week and a half ago, our family started a fast where we have committed ourselves to trust God for a deeper level of freedom in our lives and others. On the same day, my wife began taking us through a book that is intended to both help us live a healthier lifestyle and draw us closer as a family.

The first couple of nights, we had tea to calm down. We talked about what we were thankful for and had a family devotion as we read a few verses of scripture. We laughed and joked about the hygiene regimen of cleaning our hands and faces, but enjoyed it all immensely.

There is such a joy in trying something new.

The third night was different. We got a late start so it was rushed. We did the devotion, snack, and tea; but dismissive attitudes were present and very noticeable. After calming everyone down for the fifteenth time, we moved on to cleaning our faces, hands, etc., but this time we were snappy with one another. We wanted this one to hurry so we could just be done. We wanted that one to get out of the way so we weren’t there all night.

There is such pain in trying something new.

If there is joy and pain in it, how do you determine if it’s worth doing? The world tells us that as soon as a negative emotion enters the picture, it’s time to get out. Many have lived in that arena and reaped its fruit. We have reaped it individually and as a society.

New things usually start with joy and they’re exciting, but at some point, there comes a day where you do it for other reasons than just fun or excitement.

  • You keep exercising even though you don’t feel like it
  • You eat healthy even though if you look at one more piece of broccoli you’ll scream
  • You read those chapters of the Bible because you made a commitment to God and yourself
  • You share a devotion with your kids even though they act like you’re from another planet

Some people would call this legalism, but I think that’s a flawed perception. Was Jesus a legalist because He healed all those who came to Him with a need?  How about because He faithfully taught the word of the Kingdom and revealed the Father?

Compassion, love, respect, honor–they’ll help you carry on when you don’t feel like it. We discipline ourselves and can expect that grace will meet us in the rough patches because we are after His heart.

He rewards faithfulness, not what makes you a success in the eyes of others.

May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ. –2 Thessalonians 3:5

Even walking in the freedom of Christ is powerful and joy-filled at first, but there will come a day where we make a choice to live that freedom to bless others or fall back into selfishness. I want that steadfastness of Christ. I want His faithful love displayed through my yielded life.

Remind yourself why you do what you do. Remember why you started in the first place. If it’s honoring to God, carry on and reap your harvest. You won’t be disappointed.

What do you do when the newness wears off? How do you stay on track and what helps you stay focused?

10 Comments

  1. Recently my wife and I did a Daniel Fast for 21 days…wow, were we surprised! The Holy Spirit kept us focused and except for coffee, I really didn’t miss anything we were giving up. It was a great experience and we’re going to do another one soon.
    Jay Cookingham recently posted..Bad Sheep -- Web ShootersMy Profile

    • That’s great, Jay! I can’t say we’ve fasted a whole lot over the last several years, but God keeps impressing it on us lately. He’s doing a great thing in the earth! Thanks so much.

  2. Just recently my parents went to New York and being in charge with another brother in my custody (lol) its very easy to full into indulgence of Junk food and a unhealthy lifestyle. But proud to say we did not fall into that temptation at all ! We did treat ourselves to a nice italian dinner the night before they came back but right next to the restaurant is a trail and park where you can walk so after the meal we went for a walk and we felt good.
    andrew singh recently posted..Christmas-Winterland Photo ExtravaganzaMy Profile

    • The convenience of fast food and junk food is what kills us, right? Glad you stayed strong, Andrew! :) Thanks.

      • Yes sir it is very easy but I’m glad that when I do have an urge for a burger, pizza, or that I’m happy to say its at places that have some kind of active activity that we access to after where done eating ! and there places that are scratch made food as well.
        andrew singh recently posted..Christmas-Winterland Photo ExtravaganzaMy Profile

        • That exercise makes all the difference!

  3. Excellent post. How do children come up with self discipline if they’re never taught discipline? The best things in this life are the things that are the most difficult to come by physically. The inside discipline comes from God. I believe if it’s for the flesh, it’s temporary. If it’s from the proper perspective of the heart from God, it’s eternal.

    I’ve learned that the best things in life I ever got as a kid are the things I never got… Leaving room for me to yearn and strive was the best form of passion and perseverance I could have ever received. I think that’s part of what is wrong with our society today. We give our children too much, instead of teaching them how to work for what will be the most gratifying thing anyway.

    I can’t say I’m completely without guilt in this area. Thanks for the reminder. We need to stay the course, do the hard thing, and honor God.

    • Amazing how the ‘hard thing’ is so many times the ‘right thing.’ I’m glad that His strength meets us when we step out in faith to follow. Thanks so much, Floyd.

  4. My blog….. I know that I’m supposed to discipline myself to sit and reflect on the things God is speaking into me. It was all well in good at first, but I have found it difficult lately to find motivation to take the time to do it. I know you know the feeling, but sometimes I just want to put it off. Your post today, was a gentle reminder to buck up and do what I know I should be doing. :-)
    Philip recently posted..Providence (Not just a town in Rhode Island)My Profile

    • Glad I can remind you as I remind myself. :) Thank you, Philip.