Monday, August 26, 2013

It's For Your Own Good

Friends of Faith:
Do you remember these types of conversations with your parents? Mom: “Practice your piano.” Me: “Do I have to?” Dad: “Mom said so and it’s for your own good.”
Me: “I’m going into town to meet Stan.” Mom: “No, that’s not a proper way to date.” Me: “Why?” Mom: “You’ll figure it out later, but it’s for your own good.”
Looking back, I wish I would have practiced piano a little more, so that now I could pick up a music book and play without thought. And as for the way I was taught to date—yes, I have figured it out—and of course I said the exact same words to our own children.
I wasn’t really rebellious, but I know I tested my parents on occasion. I didn’t like discipline anymore then, than I do now. It can be difficult to do things over and over, and to do them the right way, with integrity, humility and with moral standards (God’s standards).
You have forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children: “My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges.” Endure your trials as “discipline”; God treats you as sons.  For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline? At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it. So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees.  Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be disjointed but healed. Heb 12: 5-7, 11-13
Discipline: it’s for my/our own good.
It’s what keeps us from weighing too much: the discipline of eating right and exercising.
It’s what makes us good at our jobs: day in day out education and the practice of going to work, even when it would be easier to take a “sick day.”
It’s what makes my marriage full of joy and peace: forgiveness 70 x 7 times (never going to bed angry), instead of giving the silent treatment or just giving up altogether.
It’s what makes me appreciate all the gifts I have been given in life: as humbly each day I open mail asking for donations for orphans and the starving poor around the world, as daily I seek to listen with an open heart to hear God’s words in scripture and minute by minute I strive to put into practice the work of honoring the commandments He has spoken.
I find it difficult to “not covet” my neighbors annual cruises and exotic vacations; I strive for the patience to not get angry and rude with an IRS representative who is just doing their job after “wasting 2 hours of my time on hold;” and I seek to find tolerance for the friend who turns their back on our relationship because I spoke a moral truth they didn’t want to hear.
Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.  Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?”  He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough…  Depart from me, all you evildoers!’And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.  For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” Lk 13: 22-30
Heavenly Father, You discipline us for our own good. Help me to not be discouraged by moral corruption and to endure the trials of this world.  Strengthen my weary (drooping) hands and weak knees to do whatever it is You ask of me. Help me to give up this world for Your world. Bless me with an open heart that isn’t afraid to speak the truth and help me to keep my eyes focused on Your narrow gate. Thank you for showing me your presence in the rich rewards of spiritually filled conversations with special friends and for the grace and peaceful fruit of a joy-filled marriage. May I be disciplined to live Your way, The Way, which will achieve the righteousness of Your eternal life. Amen.
May you be blessed in the discipline of doing what is right, by seeking and speaking the truth, and through the renewed hope of God’s presence and power through the relationships in Your life.
In the Spirit of Christ,

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