August 14, 2016

The principle of discipline

I am a quilt maker. Most of them are art quilts rather than bed quilts, a freedom of expression but like any art, it is not without rules. For instance, they cannot be called quilts unless they are made of layers stitched or tied together. Like any piece of art, these quilts also must follow fundamental rules of design.

When I make a piece that turns out badly, the rules of designing and sewing a quilt are helpful in either fixing it or starting over with a new one. This principle is the same with baking cakes, decorating a room, building a bird house, or holding down a job.

The ‘laws’ of design and of life are to guide us, not make us give up, or moan about unfairness. Without them, we would have no idea about cause and effect, truth and consequences, or why one thing works and another action results in failure.

Principles are real and helpful in living for Jesus Christ. God’s Word is filled with spiritual principles. If I go against them, my spirituality begins to stink rather than reflect the goodness of God. Not only that, the more I go against God’s guidance, the less I think about what He says and how He wants me to live. Because He is my Savior, when (not if) that happens, He steps in and corrects me . . .

“And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.’ It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” (Hebrews 12:5–8)

Yesterday’s devotions alerted me to how easily I can quench the Spirit. Today, the Lord adds to the list one more way: I do it by despising the chastening of the Lord and giving up when He rebukes me.

That is, when God shows me error in my walk with Him, sometimes I wonder what took Him so long. I feel ashamed that I’d been guilty of that particular thing and never realized it, or if I did realize it, my understanding was too vague — or whatever excuse I came up with. But as Chambers says, if God is revealing something, no matter how long it took, I’m to yield, to let Him have His way. The goal is being in right relationship to God, not sending me into a sulk, or making me give up. If I did that in other areas of life, I’d soon stop making quilts, baking cakes, and doing anything else.

Chambers also points out that “sanctification is not my idea of what I want God to do for me; sanctification is God’s idea of what He wants to do for me.” Because that is true, His rebuke, correction, and discipline are to put me in the mindset where I am willing, no matter the cost, to let Him have His way in my life. This is why the writer of Hebrews says I’m not to regard His discipline lightly — it is evidence that I am His child and that He loves me!

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