LIVING WITH A CONFIDENT FAITH IN CHRIST
How God Helps Us Stay True to Faith
Jerry A Collins
®Why do we need to be disciplined by God?
What will Godís discipline accomplish in our lives?
What part do we play in Godís discipline of us?
A 73 yr old Iowa resident, Aldin Straight, needed to visit his ailing brother, who lived on the other side of the State. For some reason there was no one who could drive Mr Straight to his brothers house. He was unable to drive capably since he could not read road signs if he was driving faster than 20 MPH. So, Mr. Straight did what he could. He rode his lawn mower 240 miles across the state of Iowa to be with his brother. If you ever believe you have it hard, just remember Mr. Straight. Nothing is more natural for a person than to overestimate the severity of his trials. Our tendency can be to grow weary and fainthearted and slack off. We can get off track and become disinterested in running the race of faith well. This chapter stresses that while trouble in our lives can tend to get us to lose our spiritual focus, we must find a way to endure and make it through like Mr. Straight. God wants to use the trouble in our lives to discipline us in such a way that we will grow up spiritually and increase our dependence upon him all the days of our lives. How can we keep trouble from getting the best of us while allowing God to use it in our lives to make us godly people?
1. REMEMBER THAT JESUS HAD TO ENDURE TROUBLE ALL OF HIS LIFE AND MINISTRY 3-4
Jesus taught us that the servant was not greater than his master. If he had trouble we can expect it too. The Christian life is not a life that is trouble-free. This is not heaven yet! You must develop a theology of trouble. See it from Godís point of view. That means we should expect it all of our days. Why are we so surprised when it comes? Somehow we rationalize that we are exempt. Jesus faced it too!
A. Let the fact that Jesus suffered be an encouragement to you. The idea is to deliberately go over each part of Christís suffering leading up to his death. Let that prevent any failure to endure in your faith when suffering our own trouble.
B. Realize that it could be worse. In verse 4 is the reminder that none of us have yet resisted to the point of shedding blood at the hands of sinful men who oppose us like those in chapter 11 had too as well. God has spared you what others have had to face. You should be grateful for that for not even the Son of God was spared this. Rom 8:32 He who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all will he not also give us all things with him? How often have we looked at what troubles us much differently after we have heard of or seen the trouble another has had to endure! That is how it must be every time we have trouble and compare it to the trouble Jesus endured. It should encourage us because Jesus had it much worse than we ever will and He endured in a godly way.
2. DONíT FORGET THAT GOD USES HARDSHIP IN OUR LIVES TO DISCIPLINE US 5-8
Six times the word discipline is used in this passage. The objective of discipline is correction. The objective of correction is godly behavior. This quotation is from Proverbs 3:11-12.
A. Let hardship be a tool God uses to correct you 5. Again, our tendency will be to see hardship from only this side of the grave. We can allow it to discourage us and fail to let it produce the godly life God desires in us thru it.
B. Godís discipline in our lives is evidence of His love for us as His children 6-8. The fact that God uses hardship to educate us in godliness is evidence that He has our greater good at heart. The discipline is in the context of a Father-son relationship. Every boy knows that his father does not discipline the neighbors children. He disciplines you. The reason is because you are his son. Therefore, if we are going thru struggles and problems then thank God. If a father does not have the goal of disciplining his children, he treats them as if they were illegitimate and not as his own. He is actually deprived of his fatherís care instead of a recipient of it in his life vs 8.
3. CULTIVATE A SUBMISSIVE SPIRIT THAT WELCOMES GODíS DISCIPLINE IN YOUR LIFE 9-11
Even with our earthly fathers we gave them respect during times of discipline. They did what they thot was right even though sometimes they were wrong 7a. But God is never wrong in his discipline of us. He is always deserving of our submissive and willing spirit toward the correction he desires in our lives by means of the hardships and difficulties we must work thru while we are here. Why?
A. This correction is life-preserving vs 9. Sin is always death-dealing (James 1:15). God can even use the hardships and consequences resulting from our sin as a way of correcting us and stopping the consequences from compounding. But we must be willing to submit to that chastisement. Sin-death. Correction life.
B. This correction allows us to share in the holiness of God 10. Because of our nature, sin spreads more easily than righteousness. It takes more effort, for instance, to build than to destroy (our garden). to cleanse the land than to pollute it, to reform a person than to corrupt him, to cure a drug addict than to addict him. Welcoming Godís discipline thru the hardships of life will ensure that our sin will be arrested and the righteous life of Christ will be evidenced in itís place in our lives.
C. While painful it yields a rich harvest of righteousness and peace 11. When a Christian is trained or corrected by Godís discipline the full benefits of a righteous life are to be enjoyed. It is possible to experience trouble and never be trained by it because you complain about them, resent them, bitter about them. This will only motivate you to apply sinful strategies that help you adapt to them in your life.
4. REMOVE ANY HINDRANCES THAT MAY KEEP YOU FROM SUBMITTING TO GODíS DISCIPLINE 12-13
We need constant encouragement in this area since we struggle to see trouble from Godís point of view. If we fail here then that which is wrong in our lives will continue to stay out of joint. The consequences of our sin will continued to be experienced. So renew your resolve to stay on Godís path for you (Prov 4:26). Stop being weak, anxious, rebellious, fearful.
1. Think Gods thots by becoming a student of Gods Word.
2. Live a repentant lifestyle.
3. Determine to have a heart that beats after Gods.
4. Recognize offering of world inadequate.