Summary: As Max Lucado says, God loves you just the way you are, but too much to leave you that way.
We’ve covered 17 verses I the last 2 weeks, think we’re going a little too fast! So I want to go back and pick up on some things we kind of hurried over. David and I were out examining our lemon tree the other day, lots of lemons, getting yellow, noticed there were branches growing out of the bottom of the trunk. Don’t want tree wasting its efforts on producing new growth, but giving its resources to fruit bearing, which is what it’s made for. Just what Jesus says God does for us. Prunes us, as a good gardener, cuts away anything unnecessary or destructive or that keeps us from our purpose of bearing fruit. A cleansing process, tells disciples they are already cleansed and are continuing to be cleansed. Describes us as well, that when we commit to following Christ, there is an immediate spiritual transformation. We are set free from the power of sin, forgiven of sin, past, present and future, and we are covered with the perfection and purity of Christ so that when god looks at us he sees Jesus. Then the process begins of bringing my physical existence into conformity with my spiritual reality—being made like Jesus. (Pizza Pan Theology)
Another way that the bible describes that process is that we are being disciplined—not necessarily in the negative sense of being punished, but in the positive sense of being trained. I am in the process of being disciplined, trained, molded into the character of Jesus, which is what God’s goal for me is
How many of you have been soldiers? How many athletes? Then you know what it means to be trained, to learn how to accomplish the task as effectively as you can, to have all the positive traits needed to accomplish it enhanced and all the negative traits eliminated.
My responsibility as a parent is to train my children, to discipline them into becoming responsible adults and followers of Christ.
God does this with us as well. Because of his love for us, because he treats us as his children, he desires that we grow into the goal that he has planned for us. So he discipline us, trains us. The way he does that is by using circumstances, people, storms, even our own mistakes and sin to get us into shape, develop us.
That can hurt! No pain, no gain.
Why are we disciplined?
· To bear fruit (exhibit the character of Christ, to trust God, respond to people and situations like God would, to share God’s passion for the people of this world). God is continually improving on our fruit bearing capabilities.
o Coaching little league baseball, amazing how these kids think they know everything about the game.
o Max Lucado says that God accepts us just the way we are but loves us too much to leave us that way. Heb. 12:10, 11—holiness, righteousness and peace.
· Uses discipline to fortify us against temptation: Anyone ever witness the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace? The guards are so well disciplined they ignore every distraction. Proverbs 6:23.
If we are going to understand and trust God, we need to get our arms around this idea.
· Need to accept that God uses difficult circumstances and people to train us, to discipline us. Proverbs 3:11,12.
· Need to be big picture people. (learning to drive, get the big picture). Buy into the goal of God for our lives. Hebrews 12:11.
· Set our eyes on the prize, the joy set before us.
· To cooperate with God’s discipline, his pruning, by enduring, remaining in him. Some of us have substituted a worldly discipline for spiritual discipline. Far more concerned with what our bodies look like, what kind of shape we’re in, even with an intellectual discipline, than with our relationship with Jesus.