April 12 I Friday
1 Samuel 19-21
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as His son.” —Hebrews 12:5-6
There are many things that entangle and divert us from God, but they are not usually intentional. We can suddenly discover we are wrapped up in things that have sidetracked us from God. It is not always the wrong things, but sometimes the right things that can mislead us.
When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He was not tempted to do anything wrong. It was not wrong for Him to turn stone into bread and it was not wrong for people to recognize He is the Son of God, because He is. Neither was it wrong for Him to rule the world because one day He would. We need to be aware that the subtlest attacks from the devil are taking legitimate things and feeding them into our lives in a wrong way and for a wrong purpose.
Christian author John Piper writes, “The fight of faith—the race of the Christian life—is not fought well or run well by asking, ‘What’s wrong with this or that?’ but by asking, ‘Is [this] in the way of greater faith and greater love and greater purity and greater courage and greater humility and greater patience and greater self-control?’ Not, ‘Is it a sin?’ but, ‘Does it help me run? [Or is] it in the way?’”
Sin will get in the way of our relationship with God. Many of us play fast and loose with sin because we think we are in control, but we cannot play with sin for sin is a master, and until it masters us, it has not finished its work. That is why we need to throw off all those things that entangle and divert us from God. To show how serious this battle is, Hebrews 12:4 says, “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” In other words, we have not resisted sin to the ultimate extent.
In God’s sovereignty, He may bring painful discipline into our lives. This is not punishment, nor is it vindictive by any means, but it is refining and purifying. We are who God loves, and in His discipline, He is treating us as sons. To quote John Piper again, “I rejoice in the sovereignty of God because He wields it in all things to preserve Himself as my greatest treasure.” It is a love relationship—that of a father to his children, where His discipline weans us from our folly and brings us into a deeper, richer experience of God Himself.
Prayer: Gracious Father, as painful as your discipline might be, I ask that I may see it from Your perspective and that it deepens and enriches my relationship with You. Thank You, Lord.