The Abundant Life Means Being Uncomfortable.

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“As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?
For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”

Hebrews 12:7-12

My first couple of years living on my own were this strange mix of grace and rebellion. For the first time, I was getting to know God on a different level, learning as an adult how to walk with Him. However, I didn’t do it so perfectly. I resisted His truth, rebelled against His commands, and thought that this “amazing grace” I had heard about my whole life would cover all of the stupid things I wanted to do.

I went through different phases of seeing God as many things. For a while, He was this fantasy that I read about in the bible, but wasn’t sure really saw me or cared for me. Then, when I realized how powerful He was, my fear took over. I felt so deeply inadequate to stand anywhere near His presence. I know it sounds funny, but I honestly thought I could hide my sin from the Holy One, and just allow Him to see me when I put on my Sunday best. I was ultimately ashamed and never wanted anyone to see me without my Christian church mask on, not even Him.

Our culture is so very feeling based. We are emotional and act on what will be most comfortable at the given time. The problem with acting on feelings is that they change, and aren’t always super healthy. But why are we so afraid to challenge each other toward greatness? Why are we looked upon badly if we want to encourage others to excellence? Grace is important. Love is crucial. But we aren’t really loving each other if we watch one another make choices that are life altering for the worse.

The people who have loved me the most have challenged me the most. These are the people who didn’t allow me to be selfish and make poor choices. The people who pulled me out of darkness, rather than holding my hand and letting me continue to hurt myself and others. The people who held me to a higher standard. The people who treated me like I was worth something better than the choices I had made.

You see, friends, God doesn’t call you to excellence in order to ruin your fun or make you unhappy. It is to make you holy…healthy…refined…valued…purposed…loved…known…seen.

If your dad ever gave you a curfew or didn’t let you walk out of the house wearing next to nothing, it wasn’t because he was mean. It was his love and care for you…he saw that you were a treasure and didn’t want you to become hurt and broken. That is the God we serve. Our Father wants what’s best for us, and sometimes that means making the tough choices.

Remember that grace and love doesn’t mean allowing and supporting bad decisions. It means that we all fall short, and our Father loves us still. But He doesn’t stop pushing us toward our best.

If God sent His own perfect son to die for us, why wouldn’t He expect you and I to die to ourselves daily? It shouldn’t surprise us when we are called to make radical, difficult choices that conflict with culture or popular belief. But why make them? What’s in it for us? Peace. Purpose. Value. Love. The abundant life. God sees you as His daughter…royalty…innocent and beautiful in His eyes {like the sweet girl in the photo above}, and He wants only the best for you.

“But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”

What choices and changes do you need to make to live the life God has for you?

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