The Discipline of Grace (4)
You are welcome in the name of Jesus.I started raising some points on what God uses to discipline His children in Part 3.(You can read those previous points here) .This is the continuation:
4)Through restricted freedom:Have you ever been in a situation where your parents insist that you are not going out for a night party and you are locked inside a room in the house? Your earthly father may think that you are not emotionally matured to go to that party but that doesn’t mean he hates you or that you will be forever prohibited from going out. God does that to His children as well.Does it mean He doesn’t love them? No,not at all.Rather He loves them to the extent that He cannot allow them to live reckless lives.Many visas have been denied because of this! Many travellings have been aborted because of this!
For example,Balaam insisted he wanted to go to a place God didn’t want him to go.Read what happened next here:
“But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, it turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat it to get it back on the road.
Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path through the vineyards, with walls on both sides. When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat the donkey again.”-Numbers 22:22-25
If this were to happen today, how would it go? Let me guess: You had an appointment to catch in Victoria Island Lagos,meanwhile God had warned you in your dreams not to go out that day,you insisted you must go! “God,try to understand,I need to strike this deal today”. Midway on Third Mainland Bridge,your new car was stuck! This was a car that had no mechanical fault,no issues whatsoever the previous day.While you were coming out of the car to figure out what could be wrong,an incoming car hit you and your side mirror.Thank God,it was just a bruise on your right foot!
David described this experience this way:
“You hem me in behind and before…”/”You have enclosed me behind and before”-Psalm 139:5a
Don’t get mad at God when this happens.He is just protecting you because He loves you too much than to allow you walk into problems.Some God’s children may still find ways to sneak out of this restriction anyway but many of them come back with burnt fingers!
NB:This doesn’t mean every disappointment is as a result of God disciplining you.
5)Through denials: God,like our earthly fathers can deny us some things as a way of disciplining us.At this point,many biblical scholars will want to disagree with me.This is their argument:
Jesus said,”Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”-Luke 11:11-13
So Tope,where is it written that God the Father can deny us of what we ask?
My response:I know God Almighty promises us that He will not withhold any good things from us.He is such a wonderful God.In fact He can do things beyond our wildest imagination.No earthly father could do 0.1% of what God could do for His children.However, there are two ways God can deny us of what we ask:
First,when we ask amiss.Second,when we ask things that are lawful/our rights but not profitable to us.
1)ASKING AMISS:The above passage esp vs 11-12 assumes the son is asking for good things: Fish and eggs.What if the son asks for bad things like snake and scorpions,what will the Father do? Will he still give the son his desire or deny him? Definitely the father will deny the son the bad things and in place of that will give him the good things. As children of God,we sometimes ask amiss,we think we are asking for fish not knowing we are requesting for snake that will bite and poison us to death,therefore God denies us.
“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”-James 4:3
2)LAWFUL BUT NOT PROFITABLE:There are some good things that may not be beneficial to our spiritual lives that God may deny us.I have seen 13 year old boy weighing above 70kg and I had to counsel the parents on the diet they should avoid.Junk foods may be sweet in the mouth,but should the parents of this boy keep taking this child every weekend to eatery to consume such food? The child may think it is the responsibility of the parents to nurture him but are junk foods profitable for him? Likewise,there are good things that are permissible for us but God knows they are not profitable to our lives.Such things He denies us! Is it because He hates us? No,it is because He loves us.
“We are allowed to do anything,” so they say. That is true, but not everything is good. “We are allowed to do anything”–but not everything is helpful.1Cor 10:23 (GoodNews)
“Someone may say, ‘I’m allowed to do anything,’ but not everything is helpful. I’m allowed to do anything, but not everything encourages growth”-(GWT)
The only being that can confidently tell you what you need per time and what is profitable for you is the Almighty God.So if decides to withhold something at the moment,He understands better.
God knows the best ways to discipline His children.I do not claim these are all the means He uses.However,one thing is sure: He loves His children and he disciplines them.His grace(unmerited favour) does not infer lawlessness in His children.
God willing,I intend to publish a post on how to discipline a child in the way of the Lord especially in this contemporary world.It will be the third post in the Wednesday edition of Rhema blog.
Watch out for it.