God is doing a work in me
He’s walking through my rooms and hails
Checking every corner
Tearing down the unsafe walls
And letting in the light
Sara Groves “Help Me Be New“
I’ve been practicing living a lifestyle of hearing (mentioned last week). A lifestyle of waiting on God.
“My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.” Psalm 130:6 (NIV1984)
I was hoping through all this waiting and listening to hear some sort of massive revelation about what’s next in our lives. Or to catch a glimpse of some grand plan that God has for me.
Instead, what I’m receiving is correction.
I wish I could say my response to correction is always thankfulness and receptive humility. Not usually. Instead, I respond as my children often do to discipline: I alternate between wanting to lash out in anger or denial and trying to hide in shame.
I mostly just mope. It’s not fun to have your imperfection revealed to you. Isaiah knows what this feels like.
“It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.”
It’s easy to write, speak and sing about how I desire to be all God wants be to be, how the cry of my heart is to be more like Him, how I want to learn to walk in the fullness of all He created me to be. But the reality of correction is that it’s painful and challenging.
When God puts His finger on something in our hearts or lives that needs to be changed, how should we react?
1. Gratitude. God is speaking to us and doing what a good father does: discipline His children. Discipline is not a dirty word. It simply means to disciple or correct. Discipline is how we grow. So we can thank God for caring enough about us to speak to us about things that are keeping us from living in the fullness of who He created us to be.
“If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself;
but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.”
Proverbs 15:32 (NLT)
2. Humility. False humility, overwhelming grief, self-punishment: these are all forms of pride. Pride declares that the cross is not enough. Pride says I must hide in shame, just as in the garden. Pride says I mist somehow punish myself or make up for the fact that I’m not perfect. To punish myself is to deny the cross.
“The punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5b (NIV1984)
We can choose to accept God’s correction without moping or denial, but rather with true humility and thankfulness. True humility exercises our surrendering muscles and declares to God, “You are able to take care of me, to shape me, and I trust You to do just that.”
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6
3. Prayer. We can go to prayer with the thing God has shown us. Sometimes, we need more guidance and direction. Other times, we need His peace to confirm what we’ve heard. Mainly, I think we just need to experience His love & acceptance in that moment and gather the strength and grace we need in order to accomplish whatever He has asked of us.
“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)
4. Action. Whether the thing God speaks to us requires a simply tweaking or a complete overhaul, we need to act on what He has said. Write it down. Tell a friend. Pray with someone. And act. Hearing and responding to God takes practice. You may not always get it exactly right. Remember that God is a good father. Good, healthy parents never expect their children to be perfect. Their kids are not mocked or shunned for trying to be obedient, but making a mistake. As we try to be obedient to what we thought we heard, God will give us grace and rejoice over our effort.
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11 (NIV1984)
Sarah Groves puts it well in her song:
I am working hard
To clean my house and set it straight
To not let pride get in the way
To catch an eternal vision of
What I am to become
True freedom is learning to walk in the fullness of all God created you to be. We can accept the Lord’s discipline with gratitude, humility, prayer and action because He is a good father.
How has the Lord been disciplining you lately? How have you chosen to respond?