Accepting the “No,” the discipline from our heavenly Father, with joy, willingly and without complaint is the best way for people to see Christ in you.
“But I want it!” Does this sound familiar to any parents out there? How about, “I really need that!”
When I was a foster parent, one of my boys would use these words when walking through Wal-Mart. I can honestly say, I learned more about the character of God from that two-year-old than I did from my pastor at the time. That little boy loved and adored me and I could do no wrong in his eyes, even when disciplining him or having to tell him “No” for certain things. Yes, he’d throw his tantrum or start crying, and it broke my heart to see him upset, but he had to learn, even at two, to accept the “No.” And you know, God does that with us.
Today’s reading focused on Hebrews 12:9-10 where it speaks about us being subject to our earthly parents and their discipline as we grew up and how we, as believers, should be more under subjection to God when He disciplines us, because it’s for our own good. God loves us, no matter how stubborn we are, how much we disappoint Him or are just outright disobedient. So like a good parent, He will discipline us. But that is not what struck me in my reading for today. Here comes the meat and potatoes folks.
In verses 12 and 13, it states:
Therefore, strengthen the hands which hang down and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
The notes in my study Bible bring up two points with regard to these verses. The first point, which I like, again, sports analogy, is that God is not just a loving parent, but the ultimate Coach. “How much do you think you can do with what I have given you?” He will ask. And what He’s given you doesn’t have to be material things. Remember from yesterday’s insights, He made us from the inside out, so it could be our talents, our time, any thing He has blessed us with, but I digress. We will often respond with a human and practical answer of, “Well I can do this much.”
His response will go one of two ways…”Do your part with what I make you responsible for and then see what I can do with the little you do,” which is truly awesome when He does that by the way. The other response, the one we usually don’t like is, “Do this with it.” In my personal experience, it’s usually been the sacrifice of something He has given me. It took a long time for me to become okay with that, but I learned, every single time, it was for my own good.
Then there is the second point of those two verses, which is how do we respond? I know I personally didn’t always respond well. I resisted, wrestled with the Angel, as it were. And the more I wrestled, the more tired I became, the more bitter I got about the situation, the more I stamped my feet, the more…well let’s just say, I ran the gambit of rebellious and resistant emotions. By the time I was done, you wouldn’t have recognized me as a believer.
Eventually, overall in life, I got to a point where it was, “Okay Lord, what do you want me to do with this?” And I learned to do it without a complaint, without a grumble, doing my best for people to see Christ in me. Did I always manage that? No way, not by a long shot. But it was all about being content in all circumstances and knowing that my behavior reflected on Him and how others saw Him. Was I resistant and obstinate and whiny when He told me to do something or did I do it willingly with a smile on my face, kinda like my two-year-old foster son when I would ask Him to do something. But then, there is the “No.”
As an adult, taking “No” from an answer is difficult. We want what we want, when we want it. And sometimes, He has to tell us “No” for our own good. Do we like it? Ironically enough, no we don’t. And we have to be okay with that response and not pout, slouch, grumble or complain. And don’t resist Him, He’s always gonna win. He’s been doing this a lot longer than we have.
Instead, accept the “No” from Him as creating loving discipline to build your character and show the world there is something about you. Let them think you aren’t right in the head, because you aren’t. Accepting the “No,” the discipline from our heavenly Father, with joy, willingly and without complaint is the best way for people to see Christ in you.