Proverbs 3:11-12 – 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. (NIV)
Exodus 15:7 – In the greatness of your majesty you threw down those who opposed you. You unleashed your burning anger; it consumed them like stubble. (NIV)
I must reluctantly wonder whether the average person checking in on a daily devotional seeks praise instead of reproof, and a pat on the back instead of a kick in the pants. However, I'm finding that I'm continually judging myself, attempting to reprove myself, as sometimes there is no one else around to do it, except the Spirit. When it comes to daily devotionals, I believe that reproof is as much needed as praise, and, personally, I would prefer reproof most of the time, over being schmoozed. I know I'm a sinner in need of daily realignment and continual growth, and I would hope that's how everyone else would feel too. God scourges those He loves, and these days a good spiritual scourging is so hard to come by. You're more likely to get, "Oh, that's okay, don't be too hard on yourself. God loves you anyway, knowing you're the product of a dysfunctional family." Who will discipline us in righteousness, if not the church? We love to bask in the warmth and mercy of the "suffering servant", but have we repressed the reality of the approaching "conquering King", whose holiness consumes sin like dried stubble? Has the church become too soft, too conciliatory in our day? Is righteousness and obedience being promoted as strongly as they should be?
Who dares call anything sin any more? It's as if we now believe in universal salvation, because everything has an explanation, and is justifiable in its own relative context. God has been reduced to the one who cleans up all our messes. He is our servant, who makes things right again, after we have allowed ourselves to experiment with unlimited self-fulfilment. God has become the icing on the cake, not the bread of life. And then there are those who believe godliness is the end point of man's own spiritual evolution, as if all we needed was enough time to get there on our own, with Jesus, Buddha, and whoever else we might admire setting the example to follow. All interesting psychology, but erroneous theology. How does one incorporate original sin, moral depravity, and sanctification into a light and fluffy devotional? The kind of devotional we need should be entitled, "Your Daily Kick In The Pants"!
Prayer: Father, we invite You, in Your great love for us, to discipline us into the ways of Your holiness. "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24). Amen.