Friday, June 12
Apostles' Creed Focus
“The Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.”
“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
Picture the scene. A teenage boy slams his bedroom door. “Grounded? Are you serious? Like you’ve never messed up! This is so unfair. Why are you out to get me?” When I was younger, I’d probably identify with the teen, but as an adult, I assume the parent has a reason for this discipline. We’ve all seen kids in serious need of discipline and instead of thinking, “Their parents must be so cool,” we think, “That’s bad parenting.”
And yet, when God disciplines us, we become like a child and wonder why He’s being so unfair. Think of the ways God disciplines His beloved people in the Bible. No one would question the love between David and God and yet, God allowed David’s son to die because David committed adultery and murder. Zechariah doubted that God could give him a son in his old age and God struck him dumb until baby John was born. Although they were disciplined, these men played significant roles for God. David was a great king who wrote over 70 Psalms. Zechariah’s son was the fulfillment of prophecy and even got to baptize Jesus!
Hopefully God’s discipline in your life hasn’t been so drastic, but He does discipline those He loves, and He loves you! Think of the ways God has disciplined you. Maybe He made you wait longer than you wanted for something. Maybe He allowed you to be miserable when you fell away from Him. Maybe He took something away that was holding too big a place in your heart. God’s discipline isn't the end of the story. He has a plan within the discipline.
As we mature, we must begin to see God’s discipline for what it is. He’s breaking our will so it more closely aligns with His. He’s making us more like Him. Unlike a neglectful parent, He takes the time to make us better. He’s being the great Father we know Him to be.
God, thank you for loving me enough to discipline me. Help me to recognize your hand in the things I don’t understand and to trust you have a plan. Break my will and make me more like you. You are my perfect Father.
Take this devotional a step further and share it with the children or students that you are intentionally discipling each week.
Encourage your kids to think about why parents discipline or set rules. Is it because they don’t love you? Of course not! It would not be safe or healthy to let you do everything you want. It’s the same with God. And think about athletes. It is not fun to do a whole bunch of push-ups or run a bunch of miles. Then why do it? Because the reward is better than the hardship.
So what is the reward we are working for? It is a Heavenly reward…when we work to do what the Bible says and stay away from things we know are not healthy, we develop righteousness (goodness), peace, and eventually Heavenly hope.
Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes we do what God tells us and we still struggle. But He is with us. Even when we are going through challenges, He is there. We can respect God and, even in a way, fear Him with reverence, but we also know that He is working for us.
Explain to your kids that, in a way, our lives are sort of like an obstacle course as we navigate through what God would have for us. Sometimes it takes discipline to avoid the things that sound fun even though we know we shouldn’t do them. We have to be motivated! Athletes are motivated by audiences, glory, or winning. We have an audience as Christians, too, and the example of Jesus to follow!