We don’t have to completely understand the purpose in each discipline to benefit from and commit to it.
Consider Daniel in Karate Kid. He wanted to learn karate, and Mr. Muyagi committed to teaching him, but he starting with waxing cars, sanding floors, and painting fences. Daniel wondered when the actual training would start. He was confused and irritated, not understanding the important conditioning of his discipline.
We sometimes read sections of the Bible while wondering why the details are even included. We pray without making a connection to any benefits or results. We serve on a ministry team to get involved and end up frustrated with the dynamics of the group. We give generously yet feel a strained need for provision and wonder where we went wrong.
There’s not always a clear cut if/then causal relationship with spiritual disciplines. Results aren’t as important as the process. Yes, we need to keep the results in mind, but sometimes what we believe should be the result differs from what God says about the process. He wants us to rely on Him throughout the discipline, trusting Him even when we don’t completely understand. We could jump through discipline hoops and end up no closer to Him. We could choose legalism over relationship.
Instead, God wants us to trust Him, take one step at a time, and rely on Him for the refining process. He will train us, but not always in the ways we expect. That’s okay, because He’s not taking us where we want to go but where He wants us to go. And that’s a better destination.