Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Measuring Up To Our Father's Expectations

We are rebellious by nature which is why I find it interesting that parents would be surprised by the action of their children. It takes a lot of discipline and the blood of Jesus Christ to overcome this nature we are born in to. So it is natural for children to say no and for teens to try to find their own way. It is the reason why the Old Testament tells us it is the natural course for parents to correct and discipline their children. In fact, it is an obligation of parents to correct and discipline their children. Children cannot raise themselves. They need help, guidance and sometimes discipline so they will learn what it is to submit to what is right instead of chasing after what is wrong. In fact, John tells us that it is in obeying the truth that we will be purified and the fruit of this purity is love:

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. (1 John 1:22)
Of course John, the beloved disciple, is not speaking of some abstract idea of truth but instead of Jesus. In describing himself Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life." (John 14:6) And the one who is truth stated:

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:12-13)

So often we get this all backwards as we try to have love for other people, especially our enemies as Jesus commanded us to do. But the reality is that you cannot have fruit unless you are attached to the tree. Sometimes we are attached but we will not submit in obedience to the pruning that the Gardener wants to do in us:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. (John 15:1-2)

The gardener is our Father and we need to constantly remember that we are children to him, needing help, guidance and correction. We were born to him by choice, his and ours and once having chosen we need a constant reminder that we are born of him and not of this world:

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. (1 John 1:23)

It is because of this truth that our desire is to be purified by the truth. Perhaps understanding this we can understand why Jesus taught that we cannot serve two masters. We cannot be both part of this world and part of the Kingdom. Jesus said it was impossible. He even gave us a measuring stick to see how we are doing in our growth to maturity. We know how well we are doing according to the love we have for the people in our lives. But remember, he said the real measure of this love is not found in us loving those who love us but instead in loving those who hate us and get on our nerves. So why not do some measuring today?

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