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Love Brings Discipline

Father, it is right that You would discipline us in your love. It is right that You would discipline us according to Your laws & statutes. Father, it is good & right that You would press us toward holiness & righteousness, selflessness & servitude. Thank You for loving us enough to stop us in our tracks and to bring us to correction in You through the blood of Jesus Christ. Give us wisdom so we can see, a heart of humility so we can listen. Thank You for treating us as sons & daughters. Amen.

Hebrews 12:1-11
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 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. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

I have done things I should never have done. I have said things I never should have said. I have had thoughts that should never be entertained. I have harbored attitudes that I never should have allowed to foster in my heart. I am guilty. I am self-condemned.

I am so thankful for discipline. When I was a child, a toddler, my parents loved me enough to discipline me if I was doing something stupid. They had to discipline me not to run out in the road, not to stick things in electrical outlets, not to touch a hot stove. I am thankful that they loved me enough to discipline my actions. When I got older, I had to learn other disciplines so I could stay healthy and alive. I can remember being in Washington D.C. and on multiple, multiple occasions, one of my parents had to grab me by the collar to stop me from walking into traffic because I was too busy looking at everything around me to notice what was right in front of me. That lesson they began teaching me as a toddler they had to reinforce when I was 12 & 13 years old. I am still here today because someone loved me enough to discipline me, to correct me and to help me change my behavior, even though that meant I needed discipline over the long haul in the same areas.

Somewhere around age 18 (=+/- a few years) in America, we start to get defensive when people keep disciplining us. When people offer correction we begin to step over that line of it being helpful to it becoming insulting. We resist discipline, we fight it, and we cease to see its usefulness in our life. We figure that we have grown up now, and that we don’t need anyone to tell us what to do. And so we tend to ignore discipline. We see those who would correct us as being oppressive or overbearing. We want to do things our way & so we begin to view God as some kind of cosmic Principal who we only ever hear from when we’ve done something wrong.

But in Scripture, we see this teaching over and over again. Only a fool despises discipline and rejects it. When discipline comes, it comes from love, and God is a good Father to love us this way. He doesn’t just allow us to wander into the middle of moral issues. He offers guidance, correction & discipline when we wander. When we do things that are contrary to His desires for us, and that drag us away from walking in holiness, He lovingly corrects us, disciplining us as He sees fit. It is right & good that He would do this. If He didn’t, He wouldn’t be a very good Father. He’s not all cuddles & cupcakes. Sometimes God has to wield the ‘rod of correction’ in our life so that we find ourselves desiring to get back on track, but He isn’t some uncaring authority figure looming over us just waiting to hit us with a switch.

The author of Hebrews very clearly says that if we don’t receive discipline, then we should be worried, because that would mean that we weren’t His, that we weren’t a part of His family. And so we gladly endure His discipline, knowing that it comes from the deepest love we will ever experience. We endure it because we see that God intends His glory & our good to come from it. We endure it because we love Him in return, and because we want to look & act like Jesus, from the tops of our heads to the bottom of our feet. Our whole self being conformed to His image. There is a fruit of righteousness that comes form enduring His discipline, and if He loves us enough to do this work in us, we shouldn’t desire to miss a moment of it.

We should seek correction, walking in a mindset & heart of repentance. We should be ever mindful of thoughts and attitudes within us that do not honor God, working to take every thought captive. There is a degree to which we should exercise self-discipline & self-control, those are evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in us. But we should also be ready at any moment to receive this good discipline from God, our hearts ready and willing to submit to His good love. Learning from Him & being disciplined by Him teaches us, as disciplined disciples, to walk in His rhythms of grace & that is a very good thing.

Father, it is right that You would discipline us in your love. It is right that You would discipline us according to Your laws & statutes. Father, it is good & right that You would press us toward holiness & righteousness, selflessness & servitude. Thank You for loving us enough to stop us in our tracks and to bring us to correction in You through the blood of Jesus Christ. Give us wisdom so we can see, a heart of humility so we can listen. Thank You for treating us as sons & daughters. Amen.

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Psalm 119:105-112 // נ Nun // A Lamp for my Feet

“105 Your word is a lamp for my feet

and a light on my path.

106 I have solemnly sworn

to keep Your righteous judgments.

107 I am severely afflicted;

Lord, give me life through Your word.

108 Lord, please accept my willing offerings of praise,

and teach me Your judgments.

109 My life is constantly in danger,

yet I do not forget Your instruction.

110 The wicked have set a trap for me,

but I have not wandered from Your precepts.

111 I have Your decrees as a heritage forever;

indeed, they are the joy of my heart.

112 I am resolved to obey Your statutes

to the very end.”

Psalm 119:105-112

==

Read this section of Psalm 119 again, remembering how God has revealed His ways to you in His Word.

Read it a third time, remembering what His Word has saved you from, how He has kept you safe.

Read it a fourth and final time, remembering how He has shown you grace, and praise Him for it all. It is through His Spirit & His Word that we have our hope as we await Christ’s return. 

Psalm 119:97-104 // מ Mem // Sweeter than Honey!

“97 Oh how I love your law!
    It is my meditation all the day.
98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
    for it is ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
    for your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the aged,
    for I keep your precepts.
101 I hold back my feet from every evil way,
    in order to keep your word.
102 I do not turn aside from your rules,
    for you have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
    sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through your precepts I get understanding;
    therefore I hate every false way.”

Psalm 119:97-104

==

Read this section of Psalm 119 again, but a little more slowly, listening to the heart of God being unfolded in the heart & mind of David.

Read it a third time, bit by bit, line by line and listen to the heart of God speaking to your own.

Read it a fourth and final time, and make it your prayer.

Psalm 119:89-96 // ל Lamed // The Word Preserves

“89 Lord, Your word is forever;

it is firmly fixed in heaven.

90 Your faithfulness is for all generations;

You established the earth, and it stands firm.

91 They stand today in accordance with Your judgments,

for all things are Your servants.

92 If Your instruction had not been my delight,

I would have died in my affliction.

93 I will never forget Your precepts,

for You have given me life through them.

94 I am Yours; save me,

for I have sought Your precepts.

95 The wicked hope to destroy me,

but I contemplate Your decrees.

96 I have seen a limit to all perfection,

but Your command is without limit.”

Psalm 119:89-96

Think about how the Word of God helps to keep you on the right path. Think about the difference it makes in your life. Think about the strength and certainty we have because of the presence of God in our hearts through His Word. He has already done so much, yet He speaks to each one of us as e come to meet with Him here in His Word. 

Read through Psalm 119:89-96 again, but a little more slowly and make David’s words your own. Speak them to God from your own heart.

Read it a third time, line by line, and give God praise for what He has done in your own heart and life. 

Read it a fourth and final time, giving Him praise for His sovereignty over you, confessing your sin and need for Him and His Word.

  

Psalm 119:9-16 // ב Bet // The Word Leads to Purity

“9 How can a young man keep his way pure?

By keeping Your word.

10 I have sought You with all my heart;

dont let me wander from Your commands.

11 I have treasured Your word in my heart

so that I may not sin against You.

12 Lord, may You be praised;

teach me Your statutes.

13 With my lips I proclaim

all the judgments from Your mouth.

14 I rejoice in the way revealed by Your decrees

as much as in all riches.

15 I will meditate on Your precepts

and think about Your ways.

16 I will delight in Your statutes;

I will not forget Your word.”

Psalm 119:9-16

Purity is not stumbled upon accidentally. It must be intentionally sought out and pursued. 

Read this passage again, a little more slowly, listening to what David is saying.

Read it a third time, putting yourself in His place, thinking about your own pursuit of purity.

Read it a fourth time, making it your prayer & ask God to do the purifying work in you that needs to be done so that He is glorified. 

  

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