I am writing this Seed while on holiday in Scotland with our family, together with Sasha, our Labrador puppy, who is just three months old. Sasha is discovering all sorts of new smells (and tastes!) and is finding life up here very exciting. Before we left home I had started training her. She had learned to come when called (most of the time) and to sit and stay when told (some of the time!). However, with the distraction of so many exciting new experiences, her training seems to have been completely forgotten. If she sees another dog, or smells something tasty and interesting, she seems to go completely deaf to my voice.
What Sasha does not realise is that the discipline is for her good, and that if I call her to me, or if I want to take something away from her, it is not because I want to be cruel or to spoil her fun. It is because I know where there might be danger, or when something she wants to eat might poison her or harm her.
It is the same for us with the Lord’s discipline. He knows the plans that He has for each one of us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11). He knows the situations that would be dangerous for us, the relationships that could damage us and the things that could poison our minds and defile us. He therefore wants to train us to know His voice and to obey His promptings, so that we are safe and secure.
Often, however, our carnal, fleshly nature has such strong desires that we can become deaf to the Lord’s voice – just like our puppy! If we allow that nature to rule us, we will miss out on much of the blessing and protection that God has for us. Jesus tells us that obedience to His commands will enable us to remain in His love and will bring fullness of joy: ‘If you obey my commands you will remain in my love … I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete’ (John 15:10-11).
For Sasha there will be much greater enjoyment and freedom for her in her life if she learns to respond quickly to my voice. It is the same for us with the Lord. If we respond to His discipline, it will produce a harvest of righteousness and peace in our lives.
Prayer: Lord, I am sorry for the times when I have ignored Your prompting to avoid certain situations and temptations, and when I have followed my own fleshly desires rather than Your commands. I know that You discipline me for my own good, because You love me. Please help me to respond more quickly to Your voice. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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