God’s heart in reproof is to make us more holy

“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:11-12).

When our youngest son was 3 years old, we had a conversation that seven years later still rings in my ears. He had disobeyed and was worried about getting in trouble. When I sat him down to have a serious talk about his behavior, he looked up at me with huge tears in his eyes and said, “I’m sorry mommy, I think my ‘obeyer’ is broken!” I assured my sweet boy that I knew exactly how to fix his broken ‘obeyer’; then I reflected on how often the Lord must think my obeyer needs a tune-up, too.

I cannot think of a time when I have celebrated disciplining any of my four children. I do, however, celebrate that the conversations and the consequences could make them more like Jesus.

This frame of mind is helping change my heart. As a pastor’s wife, it is giving me the courage to ask the Lord if there is any offensive way within me, and then listen for the answer. Too often, we don’t ask the question because we are supposed to have it all together. Yet we are reminded in Hebrews 10:10 that, “He disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.” No one enjoys discipline. But, if we can understand God’s heart is to make us more holy, maybe we wouldn’t resist when the prompting from the Holy Spirit comes.

Pride, gossip, envy, secrets … these things keep us from being holy and will sneak in without us even realizing it. Before we know it, our “obeyer” is clogged; it needs to be cleaned. Though the Lord continues to remind me that I am a work in progress, He gently shows me that His desire for me is the same desire I have for my own children. God is a Good Father who longs for me and for you to be more like Him. I am finding that the more willing I am to receive reproof in my life, the more real I am with others. God uses that to bring Himself glory.

When there is sin in our lives, we are missing out on sharing in God’s holiness. We can lose sight of our calling and miss out on opportunities to love and serve those around us. We can become resentful of our husbands or of others in our church body. If we aren’t careful, these things will choke out the good fruit. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, yet we have to remind ourselves there is peaceful fruit of righteousness being produced in us each time we are trained by it.

Our title doesn’t make us perfect, and we can’t put that pressure on ourselves. Seek the Lord today, and ask Him to check your heart. Is there anything that is keeping you from holiness? Welcome the discipline that comes from a loving Father and acknowledge the growth that will come out of it. It can be hard to admit when our “obeyer” is broken, but every heart needs a regular tune-up!

Published November 29, 2016