Tuesday, July 23, 2013

God Is Not Raising Spoiled Children

The thing we need to remember about our God is that he is a parent. We are his children and his desire is to see us grow and mature just like what we desire for our children. Of course children need to be raised in an atmosphere of love and encouragement and so we emphasize a lot the love, mercy and grace of our Father. It is important and we need the whole world to understand. But love is not just a field of butterflies and daffodils on a warm sunny day.There is more to a parent's love than hugs and kisses.

We often forget that our Father must also discipline us and this too is part of his love. Any parent who refuses to correct their child, who fails to teach right from wrong, who neglects to demonstrate the negative consequences of wrong action, does not love their child as they should. Of course we would prefer that our children were perfect and we did not have to deal with any negative behaviours, but our children are not perfect; they came from us.

Our Father loves us enough to deal with our wrong behaviour. He loves us enough to discipline us. No one enjoys it but we know we need it. We need it in order to learn and to grow up. Just because we needed discipline does not make us a failure; the only failure is to reject the correction. And remember, our Father's correction always includes restoration. Our desire should be to be obedient in all things at all times but when we are not our great desire should be restoration to a proper standing with God. David felt that:

Don’t punish me, Lord,
or even correct me
    when you are angry!
Have pity on me and heal
    my feeble body.
My bones tremble with fear,
    and I am in deep distress.
    How long will it be? (Psalm 6:1-3)

I don't know about the rest of you but the punishment was never the greatest consequence of my wrong actions as a child. I could handle the punishment because it was over quickly but it was the strained relationship I could not handle. It wasn't until my mom or dad told me they forgave me, and I felt they were sincere, that I could relax.

The one thing we can be sure of is that our Father never corrects us out of vengeance or hatred. His correction is always an act of love, to make us more than what we are, to bring us to a better place, to help us mature and become all that he intended us to be. We must remember that even in correction, God is for us, not against us and when he says he forgives us he also means it is forgotten, never to be brought up again. This is an important passage to consider if you think love should not include discipline:

And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? (Hebrews 12:5-7)

Spoiled ones, that's which ones, and our Father is not raising spoiled children.

Are you so perfect that you make no mistakes, never offend God, never sin? Are you so mature that you have no room to grow further, nothing more to learn? Me neither. I have a long way to go and need the discipline of my Father to go the distance. I don't like it but I know I need it because I want to be with him today and forever. I want to live a life that would make my Dad proud. I want to please him.

So when we pray "show me Lord" sometimes he brings correction to tear down what we incorrectly built. Sometimes discipline must be applied so we can gain insight into what matters the most to our Father. Don't despise discipline and don't think our Father hates you or has abandoned you. Apply the lesson, seek forgiveness and allow him to restore you to him so that you will be more than you were before. Ask him for eyes to see, ears to hear, a heart to receive and a mind to understand.

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