I had just gotten off of the phone with my niece Lizzy! She and her new husband are going to be traveling from Mississippi to watch my daughter Hannah in her first play! We were working out the details of the trip. Because Lizzy is one, if not the biggest, encourager I have when it comes to my blog I shared with her the humbling opportunity that God has given to me to be a contributing author to “Satisfaction In Christ Alone!” She has helped me beyond what I could ever hope for. She knows what she is doing in this techy world. I, on the other hand, fly by the seat of my pants hoping I am getting it right! As is usual of Lizzy she was so uplifting, encouraging and excited for this opportunity that had come my way! Don’t you love an encourager?
We finished our conversation and I hung up the phone so encouraged and uplifted when suddenly this thought entered my mind.
- She did not really mean what she said.
- She was not excited for me.
- She was just being nice.
I sat down at the table where I was writing and God spoke this into my heart.
You are not receiving the encouragement that I Am sending.
The Bible tells us to test the spirits to see if they are from God. I am here to tell you that was not satan speaking this into my heart because he wants to keep me bound. I know it was the Spirit of God speaking correction and conviction into my heart!
I have dealt my whole life with self-esteem issues and acceptance. By the grace of God, He is bringing me through this bondage. Yes, it is bondage in more ways than you could ever imagine or think! Today as He spoke those words into my heart I knew that He was disciplining me and correcting me. In that moment, I literally put my hands in the air and with tears streaming down my face worshipped the Lord! The God who created and sovereignly governs everything spoke truth into my heart!
THERE IS JOY IN THE DISCIPLINE
It may sound strange that I worshipped God in the middle of being disciplined. I have more times than I can count, repented, mourned, and begged God to heal my heart. I have read scripture, I have preached the gospel to myself, I have done everything that I know to do. Oh, how I can relate to the apostle Paul. He implored God three times to take away his thorn in the flesh. God’s response to paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”
There was joy in my heart and a contentment that came over me as God spoke, “you are not receiving My encouragement,” because I know that in that moment of discipline He was healing me. Sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? The words joy and discipline in the same sentence. But, look at what Hebrews 12:1 teaches:
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; Yet for those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields a peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Notice that Hebrews says, “discipline seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful.” Seems not to be joyful hints that there is a kind of residual joy of hope that hangs on beneath the cloud. But the tears and the sighs and the groans are so many that it looks like sorrow has the upper hand – at least for a season. As it does when a child cries after a spanking. (Strongs definition)
There is a breakthrough in the discipline when your heart sings for joy knowing that God is breaking the ties that bind. God’s work of grace is working in your heart!
Discipline gives us the impression that it is sorrowful. We should be sorrowful for our sin. We should mourn it and hate it! Yes, self-worth issues and acceptance are SIN! It is pride in its highest form. I do hate it and I want it gone so bad. But God’s grace is sufficient!
I believe that God is giving grace as He disciplines us. Grace upon grace. Sometimes I believe He frees in an instant and sometimes for whatever reason, only known to Him, it is a process.
CAN I ACCEPT STAYING IN GOD’S WORKING GRACE? CAN YOU?
After Paul implored the Lord three times to take away his thorn in the flesh and God basically said “No”, this was Pauls response:
- He was Glad
- He boasted in his weakness
- He was well content with weakness
So, for this moment, I am receiving the grace that God supplies. I am waiting on His perfect work to be completed. I have received His encouragement that comes! I know that He loves me;
My son do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines and He scourges every son whom He receives.
If God has you in the midst of sanctifying grace, rest! Know that He is healing and conforming you into the image of His Son!
And so what do I say? I say let the rains of disappointment come, if they water the plants of spiritual grace. Let the winds of adversity blow, if they serve to root more securely the trees that God has planted. I say, let the sun of prosperity be eclipsed, if that brings me closer to the true light of life. Welcome, sweet discipline, discipline designed for my joy, discipline designed to make me what God wants me to be.
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