“We pray to God that you will not do what is
wrong by refusing our correction.”
(II Corinthians 13:7, NLT)
Thoughts… I want you to think of the word “loving” in the title of this Blog both as an adjective and as a verb. Both are essential to a healthy Christian life. Correction administered in love is absolutely vital to our spiritual growth. Likewise, an attitude that gratefully, willingly and lovingly embraces discipline is absolutely vital to our spiritual growth. As authentic Christ followers, we need loving discipline and we need to love discipline.
Think back to the discipline that was administered in your life. If you came from a healthy family, you will have to admit that even though it was unpleasant at the time, and perhaps even administered in less that perfect ways, being corrected was good for you in the long run.
I received a lot of discipline when I was growing up—and I was deserving of it! I can’t tell you how many times my father would say before he corrected me, “Son, this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.” I never bought that line, until I became a parent. Then I understood exactly what he meant.
A good and loving parent never enjoys administering discipline, but neither do they shy away from it because they know it is essential to the life, health, growth and success of their child. So as best they understand how it should be administered, the parent lovingly corrects their child for their own good.
On the other end of the stick, the child certainly doesn’t enjoy discipline either. But hopefully, at some point along the way, they begin to understand their parent is disciplining them out of love, concern and with their best interest in mind. A healthy and maturing child, then, will lovingly and gratefully submit to the parent’s correction.
As it is in a human family, so it is in a spiritual family, the church. Spiritual leaders have a Biblical charge to discipline members of the flock when necessary. If a leader fails in this regard, they are not a good spiritual leader and are derelict in their duty. Furthermore, a failure to discipline spiritually will result in a failure to thrive among God’s people; they will never grow into maturity, unity and effectiveness.
I think you would agree that correction in God’s family is essential. So now the question is, how do you respond to it when it comes your way? I hope you are not like a lot of people who applaud tough truth until it is applied to them.
I want to challenge you as Paul challenged the Corinthians: Don’t get caught up in wrong by refusing discipline! I can assure you that when your spiritual leader has to bring discipline into your life, it is born out of Biblical duty, it is carried forth in love, and it will hurt them every bit as much to administer it as it hurts to receive it. So don’t refuse it by getting mad, causing problems or running off to another church. That is far too common and far too easy, and it won’t produce growth in your life.
As strange as this may sound, develop a love for correction. Don’t go out of your way to become a candidate for it, but learn to embrace it. You won’t thrive without it. Proverbs 12:1 puts it this way,
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates correction is stupid!”
Prayer… Lord, give me the wisdom and the courage to embrace correction from spiritual leaders, not only in Biblical theory, but in the daily reality of my life. And give them the courage to administer it with wisdom, courage, and love.
One More Thing… “Life is tons of discipline.” — Robert Frost