Monday, January 26, 2009

The Other Side of Love

Please read Hebrews 12:4-13 "...Those whom the Lord loves He disciplines." This is a statement that can easily be misunderstood, especially by those who question the unconditional nature of God's love, who struggle in believing that discipline and love can and, in fact, must coexist for there to be authenticity. The above verses talk about the whole issue. Please note several facts about discipline. First, our great need: confident endurance. Periodically, review is necessary. What was the writer's primary concern? Seeing that his readers were in the midst of suffering under the heavy hand of God, he wished to help them endure with confidence. How did the writer support that concern? He gave his readers a never to be forgotten reminder that before them, enduring men and women of faith had lived with confidence through times of crisis and suffering. How did the writer encourage his contemporaries? He called their attention to the great cloud of witnesses who were applauding them in the race set before them, forerunners who were saying by their examples: Keep on. Second, enduring the Father's discipline. Unless discipline accompanies affection, affirmation, support, and confidence, we have a low-grade concept of love. Discipline is better than death. Striving is the word "antagonism" It refers to suffering brought about by external persecution. It is better for God to preserve and train us through discipline than for man to annihilate us. Discipline proves the father's love. Note two popular reactions to God's discipline: disregard, or fainting. There are four basic principles that help amidst hurt. These help us to hang on when we experience God's discipline. Discipline assures us of son ship. It deepens and enhances life. Discipline continues for our benefit and though painful it is valuable. Third, the ultimate goal: inner healing. The writer draws this matter to a conclusion: "Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed." These words essentially say to the one experiencing discipline, "Don't fight. Don't resist. Don't panic." Why? From an overall standpoint: we are all connected with one another in the Body of Christ. Some members are in need and must have role models. These are the "Limbs" that are about to be put our of joint. From a personal standpoint: we each have a part of our own selves that is in need of exercise and healing. What should we do when we are being disciplined. "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face; And the things of earth will grow strangely dim In the light of His glory and grace. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

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