Disciplined with Love

Disciplined with Love

Text: 2 Timothy 3:16  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (NIV)

            I really like 2 Timothy 3:16. Or at least I like about half of it. We have a theme at our church: teach, train, and turnover. Those three words might encourage a few new people to find the courage to minister. Try this for a change—teach, rebuke, correct, train and turnover.  That should rally the troops for Christ’s service. Everyone love’s rebuke and correction.

            My hope would be that you’d see God’s intended result with his plan for service: “That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (KJV)

            God disciplines (rebukes and corrects) with love, with the intention of making us more like Christ.

 Christ’s Love for a Pharissee

            Currently, one of my favorite people in the Bible is Simon the Pharisee. From reading Luke 7, I believe Jesus valued Simon highly. Why? Because first he went to his home for dinner where he reclined at his table. (NIV) The literal meaning in this passage is “make sit down to meat.” (KJV) (Luke 7:36)

Jesus showed respect towards Simon, a Pharisee, by going to his home for dinner.                     As dinner began, an incident took place that Simon didn’t fully understand. A woman known for her sin came into his home and showed great love to Jesus. She cried profusely creating enough tears for her to clean Christ’s feet with them. She wiped the tears away with her hair. Then she poured an alabaster jar of perfume onto Christ’s feet.

            Simon didn’t understand this sacrificial love. He misunderstood the woman’s action. Simon said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” (Luke 7:39)

            The KJV says Simon “spoke within himself.” These were his thoughts, not audible to any man.

            But Christ the prophet and teacher corrected Simon’s unspoken thoughts. He didn’t argue or debate his prophetic calling with Simon, but rather addressed Simon’s negativity towards the woman. He taught on the love and change that the woman’s touch represented.

            This answer accomplished many things. It showed Simon that Jesus was a prophet. It showed Christ’s love for sinners, people like you and me and the woman who poured the perfume on his feet.

            Lastly, it showed God’s love for Simon, because he cared enough to correct him. If Christ had not loved Simon, if Christ had not understood the heart of Simon and known the goodness that dwelt within this Pharisee, Christ would never have taken even a second to correct him.

            Christ through a parable explained to Simon that the love for Christ this woman exemplified was much greater than the Simon’s love. Why? Because the greater the debt forgiven, the greater the love. Christ had forgiven the woman of much. But Simon, a Pharisee raised in the rules of the church, felt little need for forgiveness. The woman’s love was greater, because of her greater debt.

            I learned from Simon to desire correction. I desire the loving hand of God to come into my life and sift out the truth of my heart. I desire the prophetic hand of God to sweep over my innermost parts and expose completely the wrong words and actions that I have concealed inside me. Why? Because I know Christ loves me. I know He wants to enlarge my world with his love. I know that He only points out issues so he can carefully take them from my hand and replace with healing love, healing truth.

            “Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.” (Jeremiah 33:6, KJV)

             I’m in need of forgiveness for the words I’ve said that hurt people, for the wrong desires I’ve held  in my heart, for the jealousy I’ve felt. My indebtedness to you, Jesus, is high, but I don’t have an alabaster jar of perfume to pour at your feet. But I know that if I cry, you’ll recline near me in my house. And I’ll be able to wash your feet with my tears. And the incense of my prayers will perfume the room. I’ll feel your forgiving eyes focus on me. I’ll hear your voice say, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:50) 

Wisdom in the Inmost Parts

            Proverbs 12:1 says “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.”

            I’ve spent most of my life not wanting to be stupid. I’m tired of blond jokes, criticisms, cut downs and the like. When you grow up poor, the unwise often relate that to stupid. I’m glad God never looked at my surroundings and condemned me. Instead, he’s looked at my heart that desires wisdom and truth.

            Psalm 51:6 says, “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.”

            As a child, school was a consistent environment that offered a mental challenge. Like a sponge, I soaked up every word around me. For me learning facts was wisdom.

            Now I understand wisdom from my heart not my brain. In Proverbs, we receive wisdom or truth through words and philosophies. “The proverbs of Solomon son of David, King of Israel: for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young—let the wise listen and add to their learning and let the discerning get guidance.” (Proverbs 1:1-5, NIV)

            God teach me wisdom in the inmost place. How does this happen? John 14:15-18 explains.

            In verse 15, Christ tells us that first we must love God and keep his commandments. We find his commandments in the Word of God. We must do our best to follow God’s Word. This means following it with our heart, not just our brain.

            In verse 16, Christ says that God plans to send us a Counselor. The Greek word is “parakletos” often transliterated paraclete. This is literally an intercessor or counselor, someone who knows us from the inside out.  This is someone who looks at our mind and emotions, someone who correct or teaches us the truth about ourselves from the inside, out.

            Verse 17 continues, “The Spirit of truth.  The world can not accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”

            We know that this Counselor, the Spirit of Truth, is the Holy Spirit that came in Acts 2. God has given us the Holy Spirit to make the words that we hear real to our hearts. No longer are the words of the Bible just words in a book, but they are words pressed deep into our hearts. Words that draw us to desire more, more truth and more wisdom in the inmost parts.

            “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.” (Jeremiah 31:33, NIV)

            I desire wisdom written on my heart. I desire God’s Holy Spirit to guide me to truth.

            John 14:18 says, “I will not leave you as orphans.” (NIV)

            Orphans are ones without mothers or fathers. Christ says that he will send someone who will provide the guidance and wisdom that a father provides.

Staying Pliable During Correction

            For the past year, God has brought me through many times of discipline, a time of learning and growing through correction. I don’t like being corrected, but I love Christ. I know Christ corrects me because He loves me. Christ usually corrects me in one of three ways. 1) Christ sends into my life people who point out areas that need to be corrected. 2) Christ through the Holy Spirit becomes my much needed counselor and point out areas that need refining in my inmost parts. 3) God’s Word through the working of the Holy Spirit corrects and rebukes.

            I desire greatly people who will be a leader in my life and soul. People who I know have godly wisdom that they can give to me, words of wisdom and correction. When their words connect with my heart, the Holy Spirit begins to do the correcting in the inmost parts of my life.

            I desire God’s Word. When I read the word of God, it’s often like a knife. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the Word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

            Through God’s Word I learn about jealousy and the pain it causes others. I’m then convicted by the Holy Spirit and disciplined through the pain of realizing that my actions my words hurt others.

            We want a soft and pliable heart. One that listens to God’s Word, feels regret and remorse when it points out our wrong doings.

            Recently I went on a mission’s trip, the leader told us emphatically not to give out our e-mails. No problem. I’d never give out my e-mail.

            I meant a gentleman from one of the Bible Schools where we ministered. I talked with him for a few minutes each day we were there. On the last day, another person from our group and I were talking to him. He asked to exchange family information including ways to contact my family. I thought about it. The person with me suggested giving him my e-mail. I said, “But, we weren’t supposed to do that.”

            She said, “But he’s a teacher at the Bible school.”

             In my mind, I thought that’s true, but it’s still not being obedient. But then I thought, “Perhaps I could give him my husband’s e-mail “

            That seemed to be a good solution. But still not truthful!

            When the leader found out, he corrected me strongly with his words. I understood my mistake. This mistake left me feeling guilty and anxious. It shouldn’t have happened. I never wanted to be disobedient or manipulative of the rules.

            Months later I felt renewed remorse over this mistake. I prayed, “God, why can’t I just go on and forget this sin. I heard God say to my heart, because I want you to know, the way you follow your leader on earth is how you follow me.”

            Stunned again, I asked for God’s forgiveness and help in being a better follower of Christ.

             I want a heart that’s bent on doing right. That takes the teachings of the Spirit to tell me the truth about myself.

            It take the Word of God pointing out Scripture that I need to apply to my life. I want a heart that desires change inside, that accepts truth in the inmost parts.

            We have a heavenly Father that loves us and show us through the Holy Spirit how to be more and more like Jesus. He corrects us and disciplines us.         

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