"Blessed is the man you discipline, O LORD, the man you teach from your law" Psalm 94:12
"Welcome to Burger King where you can have it your way! May I take your order please?"
We like to have it our way don't we? Everything customized to bring us the greatest pleasure and joy. It's human nature. We consider ourselves, our wants and our desires first. But just because it's human nature doesn't mean that it's right. We become so accustomed to getting things our way that we will ignore and reject anything that doesn't fit in with our desires and comfort.
When's the last time you opened your Bible and said, "Can I have some discipline please?" or "God, test my faith by shaking the foundations of all I believe." How about, "I don't feel that I am being tried enough in my walk, please help me look for ways that I will be persecuted for my faith in you." Or, one I struggle with, "I am not content where I am. Please leave me here until I find my peace in you alone."
We want the Bible to give us the hope that Jesus promised and we will search for and believe every scripture that promises it to us. That is, when we bother to open our Bible. Mostly we just live on the belief that if it makes us happy and brings us joy, God wants it for us.
The thing is, when we pick and choose what we believe in the Bible, when we reject the discipline and testing and only accept the promises for hope, peace and joy, we are actually taking away God's ability to give us those things.
Hope comes in the knowing that no matter what we face, God is there, and that we have an eternal life, free from the pain and heartache in this world, awaiting us.
Peace comes in the strength we receive from God. in the knowing of his word. In the following of his commands.
Joy comes in the aftermath of a battle fought and won on the spiritual battleground.
What is so unique about the above three statements? Each is based on testing and discipline that we recieve from God.
Without the discipline of God, we will not make it through the testing that we WILL face. If we don't make it through the testing, we will never know the hope, peace and joy that comes from a life lived in Jesus.
The testing will come. The thing you need to ask yourself is this: Is the faith that I am trying to custom order, this fast food faith, be enough to get me through?
1. Get Focused: Are you customizing your time in the Bible so that you don't have to be convicted or uncomfortable by what you read? If your time in the Bible never makes you uncomfortable, convicted, or even embarassed by your attitudes, words or actions, change the things you are looking for. We all sin, stumble and just plain mess up.
2. Get Purpose: Seek out ways for God to grow you through discipline and direction. What are some things that you feel are keeping you from being truly dependant and growing with God? Ask God to help you get those things out of your life.
3. Get Wise: Get in the Bible every day. Don't look only for things that make you feel good about yourself. Ask God to grow you, change you, and prepare you through his word. There is an endless opportunity for you to be refined in your walk when you read the Bible. Make it your habit, every day.
4. Get over it: The world is focused on self-esteem. What does that mean? It means you and people making you feel happy. Get over it. Self-esteem doesn't matter. How you are esteemed in God eyes is all that counts. Your happiness and joy can only be true and lasting if it is found in Christ alone.
One to get you started:
"He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding. The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor."