God’s Perfect Balance
As a parent, I’m constantly trying to balance being loving (or rather, being nice, since giving discipline is actually being loving) and being stern. Some of us go to either extreme and need either God or someone else to point it out to us and then grace to balance it out.
God is the ideal parent. He has it balanced out perfectly. He is both kind and stern/firm:
“Make sure you stay alert to these qualities of gentle kindness and ruthless severity that exist side by side in God—ruthless with the deadwood, gentle with the grafted shoot. But don’t presume on this gentleness. The moment you become deadwood, you’re out of there.” (Romans 11:22, MSG).
Here is another translation:
“So you see that God is kind and also very strict. He punishes those who stop following him. But God is kind to you, if you continue following in his kindness. If you do not, you will be cut off from the tree.” (NCV)
I think we as God’s children get into trouble when we think of God in extremes. Some of us believe He’s such a loving God that we can do anything and get away with it, while some others of us believe that God is waiting to knock us over the head with a big stick at every mistake we make (in fact, almost like He is just out to get us). My suggestion this morning is that we revel in His love, mercy, grace, patience, etc. and because of these know we can run into His arms when we mess up EVEN when we know He will give us a smacking before hugging us (or hug us and still smack us). I’m sure parents reading this can identify. Much as you love your child to bits, if your desire is to train that child properly, you will not withhold the discipline and the repercussions of certain actions…..yet your child will know, despite the tantrums and tears, that you love him/her to bits (because you demonstrate the love).
It was a ‘light bulb’ moment for me sometime last year when God spoke to my heart saying, “I’m rooting for you.” Wow!!! So God is actually my #1 cheerleader, saying, “Go Gee! Go Gee!” He won’t let me live carelessly because He knows the plans He has for me. When I feel like I can’t run my race anymore, He understands and will hug me but He will also lovingly push me to go on, offering His strength in place of mine. When I seem to be going through so much and my change is not in the horizon, I can trust that He’s working something glorious IN me before He can show me off as His look-alike. That was my revelation which keeps expanding over time and I hope it will become yours, too.
Let’s embrace both God’s kindness and His strictness, dear worshippers. We need both on this journey to becoming conformed to Christ’s image; to having Jesus fully formed in us – God’s chief preoccupation. He’s not concerned about our material needs because He can meet them in the twinkling of an eye. He’s rather concerned about our maturity into Christ-likeness; about our potency as salt to the Earth and our brightness as light to the dark world; about our availability to be His hands and feet here on Earth; about our representing His kingdom well enough to cause it to expand. Believe me, as a parent who has now seen the light (lol) and who is trying to ensure I train my children properly to God’s glory, we are so blessed to have a parent like God. We all know some irresponsible adults who can’t get their act together simply because they were not trained properly but were indulged as children to the extreme. God loves us too much to indulge us and to cater to our every whim and for this, I give Him thanks.
The life of a worshipper is one of trusting submission to God’s lordship and His parenting. The song by Shirley Caesar says:
“I’ll say yes, Lord, yes
To your will and to your way
I’ll say yes, Lord, yes
I will trust you and obey
When your Spirit speaks to me
With my whole heart I’ll agree
And my answer will be yes, Lord, yes”
Will you let God be your Adonai – Master, Boss, Owner? He formed you and knows what’s best for you so let Him take control of your life TRULY and have the ride of your life.