Tuesday, August 16, 2016

THE POWER OF LOVE

Thank God this doesn't happen often in this life: 

God's discipline. 

I am not writing about just any discipline, but a different type. Sometimes discipline isn't about being punished for something you did, but enduring suffering for something someone else has done. God is disciplining you in self-sacrifice for someone else.

Hebrews 12:
For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 
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You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect...
There are moments when you stand in front of a fire and you peer into it not knowing how deep or how hot the flames are. But what you do know is that someone you love set this fire whether on purpose or not and that you have to walk through it.
...for our “God is a consuming fire.” 
It may be excruciating--since you could stay where you are, or walk away. Nothing is making you walk through it; nothing except that you know it is the right thing to do
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 
You may not feel love towards the person who put you in such a position. In fact, you may feel deep rage. Perhaps you didn't deserve this. You may be the innocent party having to suffer the unbearable consequences of someone else's choices or mistakes. Maybe the person started this fire from doing something catastrophically selfish or stupid or without thinking. 
They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.
You run through the list of good excuses. There are a thousand legitimate reasons why you should not have to be selfless and put this stupid or irresponsible person ahead of yourself. You know it is unjust and unfair for you to have to suffer. 
Why is it always you who has to be unselfish? 
Why is it always you who has to be courageous?
Why is it always you who has to quietly suffer heartbreak? 
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. 
It doesn't matter now. Someone has to walk through the fire. In the end, no logical explanation is going to solve the problem, the right thing is to walk through this blinding, searing fire of humiliation and pain for the love of another.

Somehow, if you do the right thing, you trust that God will heal this. "Though You slay me, yet will I serve You," you grit your teeth and power-yell out to the cosmos. You steel yourself and take many deep breaths. All you know is that you must walk through it to do the right thing.
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
At those moments, I pray you will feel very close to
Christ in the Garden crying out to God, "Please let this cup pass from me, but not my will, Oh Lord, not my will but thine be done!" 
Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 
The moment may very well feel like your own personal crucifixion. 

If you have to ask yourself if you have ever been through this type of experience, I can assure you, you haven't. You know if you have walked through the fire, for you will have the scars; you cannot escape the memory of the burn, the self-sacrifice. Perhaps this moment for you was miraculous act of forgiveness or giving up your lifelong dream or a set of beliefs you hold dear. Maybe the Lord called or is calling you to move or to stay or to love when someone doesn't deserve or even want your love. 
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. 
Or perhaps it really is something you have done to yourself. This is a self-inflicted fire and God is asking you to stop doing something you are addicted to. 
...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. 
You are staring into to the fire of obedience and you know it will kill you to walk into it--or at least feel like it will kill you. But, you know it is the right thing
In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 
Walk through it on your knees. God will never send you alone into this situation. It is going to hurt like nothing has ever hurt you before. 
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.Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.“Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
But when you are out and on the other side (usually some distance) you will never regret for even a moment that you went through it. You will feel forged like steel and stronger. In fact, you will be stronger through God's grace. 
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. 
Then, when it is over, then you will understand love in a whole new way. You will look at the Cross in a whole new way. And you will thank God that He gave you the courageous grace to walk through to authentic love.


1 comment:

Dee O'Brien said...

Thank you!!! Beautifully stated.... Many times I/we have faced the discipline and later.... Sometimes much later, saw the good in it. Without discipline this world is lost.... Look around, it's a scary world where there is no discipline

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