There are passages of Scripture that we tend to read often and there are passages that we tend to avoid. There are also passages that are easier for us to pray through than others. Yesterday I was reading a familiar passage in Proverbs 3:
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. -Prov.3:11-12
It was the word ‘delight’ that caught my attention. I often pray about the fact that God ‘delights’ in me. Psalm 149 makes that abundantly clear when it says ‘For the Lord takes delight in his people’ (v.4). I like to remind myself that God delights in me and that he enjoys me, so when the word ‘delight’ came up in Proverbs 3 it stood out to me.
So here is the question that came up: when was the last time that I prayed for insight to recognize and understand the discipline of the Lord in my life? This is such an important concept that the author of Hebrews takes an entire chapter to discuss the matter (see Heb. 12).
For most of us the issue is not so much ‘despising’ God’s discipline as much as we don’t recognize when it is happening. I virtually never hear anybody saying ‘God is disciplining me’. So what does God’s discipline look like? Obviously it will likely be different for different people, but the common denominator is that we need spiritual eyes and discernment to distinguish between what is God’s discipline and what is not.
Take difficult circumstances as an example: our tendency is to chalk it up as spiritual warfare. Or perhaps we have been praying for a particular door to open and we respond by ‘binding the enemy’ and taking our stand against the enemy, but in reality it is God on the other side of the door holding to shut!
I want to encourage you to join me in beginning to pray to be be able to recognize and understand where and how the Lord’s discipline is evident in our lives. When it comes to this issue we probably need to do more listening than talking!
Father, I thank you that you love us and that you are committed to leading us toward spiritual maturity. I choose to thank you for your discipline and for all our working in my life. Help me to recognize when you are disciplining me and give me understanding to cooperate with what you are doing. Father I trust you. Thank you that you delight in me and that you enjoy me. I pray that would sustain me and strengthen my heart today. In Jesus name, Amen
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