“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent” - Revelation 3:19 (NIV).
Karen grew up in a home where at the snap of her finger she would get whatever she wanted. She had a room full of toys, which cost her parents, a fortune, and of which she threw about carelessly. Whenever she was asked to put anything in order Karen would throw such a big tantrum. At the dinner table Karen would leave the table all in a mess, and her parents would not dare tell for fear of her wild tantrums. “How can we upset Karen when we love her so much!” they wondered. Then once they got a maid who started scolding her for bad manners. The maid didn’t last. Karen not only got what she wanted but she did whatever she liked.
Karen was admitted to school. There she was always in trouble because she felt no one could stop her from getting whatever she wanted. One day Karen abused a teacher for asking her to do her homework. She was expelled. The parents felt the teacher and the school did not love their daughter. They now moved from school to school where again Karen would be thrown out. They were puzzled and felt teachers didn’t love Karen. “You need to practice tough love,” said one head teacher as she expelled her.
What is tough love? Some people have a misconception that to love someone they must never correct them for fear of offending them. They insist that that would be lack of love. This kind of belief has also entered the education system where some believe that children shouldn’t be given bad grades for it affects their self-esteem. Love is all about making someone feel good.
Now do you know what eventually happened to Karen? She not only failed to finish school but ended up ever in jail for committing all sorts of offences. Her parent’s failure to discipline her for fear of upsetting her ruined her entire life.
Hebrew 12:6 says, “For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” And Proverbs 13:24 says, He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” When we are in the wrong God does convict us of sin through the Holy Spirit and calls us to repent. Sometimes we suffer harsh consequences, so that we learn from our folly and do better. God’s love for us is tough love.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, creator of heaven and earth, I thank you for your love for me, which when I am at fault does not hesitate to correct me, because you love me and have my interest best at heart! God’s love for us is tough love.
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“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” – ( 2 Timothy 4:7).
Fighting may be looked at as a non-desirable way of life, especially by those who are pacifists. In fact, throughout Christian history there are many who have literally taken Jesus’s admonition of “turn the other cheek” in Mathew 5:39, to mean nonresistance in the face of attack. The fact that Jesus rebuked the Apostle Peter for drawing a sword against his captors ( Mathew 26:52), means giving in to those who attack them, as a sign of humility.
Yes, of course there are moments where Christians must practice that humility and give in to those who attack them well remembering His word, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord” ( Romans 12:19). However, that said, Believers in Christ would be mistaken to imagine that they must not fight for their faith, whenever under attack. For in reality, the faith of believers is under constant attack from Satan, who comes to “kill and destroy” ( John 10:1).
Faced with this, Paul went at great length to advise Christians to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” ( Ephesians 6:11). To ward of constant attacks by the enemy Paul challenged us to “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” ( vv 14-17).
Paul is telling us that if you think that ours is a walk over faith where you are not going to fight back against the attacks of the enemy you are very mistaken. Fight we must, and hold our ground. The devil respects that! And when all is done, we can then gladly say, “we have fought the good fight, finished the race” and thank God Almighty we are free at last!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise ready to resist the attacks of the enemy, by wearing the full of armor of God, and with the sword of the Spirit, fight back to victory, this I pray in Jesus’ name!