Psalm 94:12 “Joyful are those you discipline, Lord, those you teach with your instructions. (NLT)
As children of God, we long for his words of comfort, assurance, and peace. We want to receive “Well done, enter into your rest.” We hope for the praise of his people and a divine pat on the back.
However, if such words are all we desire from him, if approval is all we are seeking, our growth as Christians will never be all he expects.
(An athlete would improve very little if praise was all he heard from his coach. If a singer heard only compliments, she would never reach her potential.)
Jesus’ words to his followers were not always comforting or soothing. Sometimes they were harsh and uncompromising. In Luke 18, a young man was told he had to sell all he owned before he could follow Jesus. In Matthew 8, Jesus called his disciples people of little faith. Mark records that our Lord rebuked Peter.
What about us? Is our need to become more Christ-like strong enough that we will welcome his harsh words when he wants to help us grow? Will our desire to serve others allow us to listen and learn, rather than pout and quit, when Jesus chides us?
Jesus occasionally points out our mistakes and weaknesses because he loves us. His attempts to improve us indicate he still has plans to use us in his kingdom’s work.
We must be willing to listen to God’s words of discipline and thank him for loving us enough to change us.