My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you peace and prosperity.
Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.
Honor the Lord with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.
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.
- Proverbs 3:1-12
“’This hurts me more than it hurts you,’ many parents have said to their children before spanking them. And the children wonder why parents would do that if they both hate it so much. The answer is obvious, parents love their children and want them to do the right thing, but sometimes it takes a little persuasion.
“The same thing applies to your Heavenly Father’s love for His children. Hebrews 12 compares the Father’s love to humans’ love for their offspring: ‘For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?’ (verse 7). Stories throughout the Old Testament reveal that Israel was blessed when they obeyed and disciplined when they did not. In today’s verse, God’s heart is revealed. He wants to give His children a future and hope.
“Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for sin. The Father invites all who believe in His Son into His family. However, He still lovingly guides His children away from evil and to do good. It goes well for all around to quickly obey God. Human nature being what it is, people often need the Lord’s heavy hand rather than His gentle voice. When going through rough times, remember, God’s heart is to bring you through them to a better place. Pray for His will, which includes not only growing in character, but also blessing you and your loved ones.”
- Presidential Prayer Team Devotion
When my Dad punished me, it was not a little persuasion. He got your attention early, often, and painfully. Years later, when I did something that I should not have done, or more often goofed off instead of doing something that I ought, I would ask no one in particular, usually silently… I would ask where my Dad was to give me a swift kick in the right direction.
We all need discipline. We all need direction. Our heavenly Father is there to guide us. It may not be a pleasant journey at times, but you will know that God is with you by the fire burning in your heart. As Beth Moore wrote, if you do not feel the warmth, you have moved away from God’s love. C. S. Lewis wrote that it is self-correcting.
We need to desire more of God every minute of every day. If we truly desire Him, He will provide that little persuasion.
In Sunday school last Sunday, I mentioned that I talked to God a lot and I argued with Him at times. The Sunday school teacher was appalled, but didn’t Moses argue that he couldn’t talk? Didn’t Jeremiah say that he was too young, and no one would take him seriously? Before Isaiah said, “Here am I,” he whined about not having clean lips. But in having that argument with God about “God, you want me to do that?!,” God reinforced that He was with me and would be my guide.
And when you are one the path that God picked out just for you, you will be so filled with Joy that your feet just might not touch the ground as you walk – at least, it doesn’t feel like they do. All we need is a little persuasion from God, who loves us.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.