“I discipline those whom I love” ~God
See Hebrews 12:6
Nobody wants to be corrected. It goes against the grain of our mind when others try to adjust our methods of handling things. That includes me. For years, I was a Christian who ignored God’s corrections nearly every single day. Each time He spoke to my heart, trying to show me how to deal with something or someone, I blew Him off—yes, even as a Christian. I was already saved, but still, I absolutely refused to allow Him to live through me. Instead, I’d let the devil have his way with nearly all of my choices.
As a Christian, I’m supposed to be growing “fruit of the Spirit” as I walk out my life by His Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23). However, I had zero fruit, because I rarely listened to or obeyed His corrections. And because I had truckloads of excuses, blame, and self-pity, nothing good of God was growing from my life.
When people would tick me off, I’d let my unrenewed mind reign, and do my best to get them back. Even though God was saying, “Matt, I see that. Let it go. Forgive them and pray for them to come to know me deeply. I love them too.”
Or if I had a really tough day at work, God would tell me in my spirit, “Just go home and relax.” But instead, I’d go to the local upscale restaurant and sit at the bar, getting buzzed and blowing money like crazy. I JUST KEPT ON IGNORING HIM!
And during the times of me having the urge to “quench” my manly desires, I’d find a way to watch porn. Although God was saying, “Matt, quit that. Stop watching that junk. That is not okay. Those are my lost sons and daughters whom you are lusting over so hard. I created sex to be enjoyed by one husband and one wife.” On and on, I kept ignoring His corrections!
If I had an argument with someone, or maybe a person had taken advantage of me, gossiped about me, or wrongfully accused me of something that simply was not true, I’d become fearful and then break out in a rage! The Holy Spirit doesn’t approve of that either.
And when I did such dumb things, to top it all off I’d scramble around trying to fix the situation—or fix them—“making sure” nobody thought anything bad about me. It was such madness! I’m so glad those days are over.
I was a complete slave to what other people did to me all because I ignored God’s corrections as they did it. Instead, I retaliated how the enemy and my unrenewed mind wanted me to. But God kept saying to me, “Matthew, I’m well aware of everything that is going on. I don’t need you to do my job. Just stick to what I expect from you, and worry about yourself. I’ll take care of the rest.”
Hebrews 12:11 says, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” No, it doesn’t feel good, but it is good for your future! God wants you to mature and grow up in your faith through His correction!
This is where a lot of believers fall off course and get stuck in a rut. We love God, we want to be graceful, powerful, influential Christians, but we want to do this without obedience to the Holy Spirit’s guidance—and that just won’t work. What is in us must be worked out of us, and this only happens through respecting our Heavenly Father’s wishes (see Philippians 2:12).
Even though I’m still a work in progress, when I truly began to allow God to correct me, I’d hear a certain phrase in my heart all the time, and then I’d repeat it. Sometimes I’d say it out-loud, but mostly to myself: “You’re not allowed to do that. You weren’t made for that.”
Someone would ruffle my feathers, and I’d be about 2.5 seconds away from telling them where they can buy a kite and the best place to fly it—NOPE! “You’re not allowed to do that. You weren’t made for that.”
I’d be betrayed by a loved one, and I’d begin to plan my retaliation on social media—NOPE! “You’re not allowed to do that. You weren’t made for that.”
I was allowing myself to actually be corrected. I was humbling myself to God’s guidance. Oh my gosh did I feel like I was gonna die! But…I continued. When I hurt severely, I constantly looked to the sacrifice that Christ went through for me. That’s what made it easier. If He can be obedient to the Father, then I can too—because He lives in me!
For example, on those days where I’d be feeling lonely and frisky, at home by myself, the devil would say, “Why don’t you just go to the bathroom with your phone, it’s easy, and nobody will know”—NOPE! “You’re not allowed to look at porn, Matt. You weren’t made for that.”
Or if my day at work was absolutely terrible, along with the other issues in my life which seem to never change or get better, Satan would try to tempt me with the quick release of alcohol, “Just go get a 12-pack and some shots, you deserve to relax”—NOPE! “You’re not allowed to do that. Stop getting drunk. You shouldn’t be drinking at all.”
But it didn’t end there. When I’d begin to feel myself hate the legalistic, ungraceful leaders at church, all the while feeling guilty because I didn’t want to leave that church and be known as a “church hopper”—NOPE! “You’re not allowed to hate anyone because hate has no part of you,” and, “You’re not allowed to feel guilty OR condemned—because you’re not. YOU are the church. I live IN you, not in a building. So if you don’t like it at that place, leave, and move along. I’ve got better things for you to do than constantly being bitter about that pastor. Forgive him and start thinking of him with love.”
On and on, I began to allow God to correct me—to discipline me. And although I still fail daily, I’m so much better than I used to be. The most assuring news is this “process” won’t end until I die, or Christ comes back! (See Philippians 1:6).
As a result of me being obedient to God more often, my life couldn’t possibly be any better! Not because my uncontrollable circumstances have changed (some have gotten worse), but instead, because I’ve changed for God! Why? Because I love Him!
So today, my friends, know this: God corrects you because He wants what’s best for you. You are His child and He loves you! Good parents always correct their kids out of love. The Bible says that we are to “endure hardship as discipline, for what son is not disciplined by his father?” (See Hebrews 12:7). God loves you so much that He will never, ever, ignore you. He wants to make sure things go as smooth for you as possible by guiding and molding you each day!
A prayer for you: Well good morning to you Heavenly Father! And WOW, what a beautiful morning it is! You make this planet float and spin splendidly, and you are so good at it! Thank you for this weather, and thank you for my good health today. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who are on the fence about obeying your guidance, help them. We need your strength and your loving correction, each and every day. We are grateful for it, and we love you. In Jesus’ powerful name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 1. Get your copy here!