September 20th, 2019
We don’t normally think of discipline as something we look forward to, but it could possibly be the best thing going for us.
Discipline from God isn’t done as punishment. God disciplines us to correct behavior that is damaging to us.
Keep in mind that the Lord your God has been disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son. So keep the commands of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and fearing him.
Deuteronomy 8:5-6 (CSB)
We believers are subject to correction by our Heavenly Father.
If God wanted vengeance for the things we have done, I think it is fairly safe to say that with few exceptions, most of us would be in literally a ‘world of hurt’. God did seek vengeance on His people in the Old Testament, but the only judgment I see in the New Testament is directly related to our passing from this life beyond or when Jesus returns to claim his Church.
If we haven’t been thankful for His discipline of us, we should be.
Discipline is God’s means of teaching us lessons that we are either unable or unwilling to learn. If we are unwilling to learn even after being subjected to God’s discipline, we are likely going to inflict harm upon those around us.
The one who follows instruction is on the path to life, but the one who rejects correction goes astray.
Proverbs 10:17 (CSB)
Resistance to discipline isn’t only damaging to those around us, it degrades our relationship with God when we are so callous as to reject His correction of us, especially when we have been the benefactors of His Grace and mercy.
Conversely when we respond positively to God’s correction, we reap the benefits.
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but one who hates correction is stupid.
Proverbs 12:1 (CSB)
This is interesting to note because we are talking about the Word of God stating that “whoever loves discipline loves knowledge”. Hatred of discipline doesn’t suggest the potential of being less intelligent, instead, the hatred of correction defines us as being ‘stupid’!
What this passage in Proverbs doesn’t tell us is what is the result if we don’t love it and don’t hate it. I think perhaps we can presume that if we are somewhere in the middle, somewhere in the middle we will see the causation of our attitude towards God’s Discipline.
Jesus underscores this in Revelation. I think you’ll be a bit surprised about the context in which he references our acceptance of discipline.
“As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be zealous and repent. See! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
Revelation 3:19-20 (CSB)
Jesus also said…
“If you love me, you will keep my commands.”
John 14:15 (CSB)
If we consider that Jesus said both of these statements, the only possible conclusion is that our disobedience results in discipline. Our reaction to that discipline is going to be telling.
“If you love me, you will keep my commands.” If we fail to keep His commands, we should expect that because He loves us, He will “rebuke and discipline” us! Failure to respond with repentance without begrudging God’s punishment of our rebellion, is going to leave us separated from our Lord.
When Jesus goes on to say, “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me”, it is definitive that our resistance to His discipline separates us from our Savior.
This passage shatters the illusion that Jesus stands always ready to accept us regardless of circumstances. If we willingly trample on His grace, we are at risk. We don’t like to hear about our requirement to repent, but it is found, all throughout the Gospel, saying nothing about the Old Testament’s view of repentance.
We’ve all heard Revelation 3:20 quoted. Unfortunately, many preachers will take this single verse and use it as an image of Jesus wantonly standing outside the door of our heart, pounding on it waiting for us to answer that door and let Him in.
The failure of occupants of pulpits around the globe not to express the context of this passage is nothing short of spiritual malpractice.
Question for you. I think most every believer feels that Jesus has an extremely effective means of using parables and illustrations as a teaching tools. The thing that we find about Christ’s use of these language tools, it that the illustrations represent perfectly the situations for which He is illustrating.
Here is the question. Do you really think it places us in an extremely uncomfortable position, if Jesus outside the door to our hearts, when thought that we had invited Him into residence already?
In verse 19 He is talking about us needing to be “zealous and repent”. We cannot separate the image Jesus paints for us of Him shutout of our hearts when we fail to be zealous about being repentant as a result of his discipline.
Devine “Discipline”. What is your attitude towards God’s correction in your life? If we aren’t viewing it in a positive light, we need to make adjustments to correct our resistance to correction.
In His Grace!