In this post:
I don't know anyone who finds being corrected pleasant. By its very nature, correction is difficult because it is revealing something that needs to change because it is either wrong or unhealthy or dangerous.
And change, especially change of the heart, is hard.
But if you are a follower of Christ, or curious about following Christ, then correction is part of the journey. After all, the reason we need Christ is because we have "all sinned and fallen short of God's glory." (Rom. 3:23)
Through faith in Jesus Christ we are declared forgiven of our sins before God and made a member of His heavenly family. This is Good News!
But trusting in Christ for the forgiveness of sin doesn't instantly remove the battle with temptation and sin. Your standing before God is eternally rectified through faith in Christ, but how you live the rest of your life on earth is now a process of transformation so you look and live more like Jesus.
Sons and Daughters of God
This is where correction comes in.
Think of parents and their kids. The child was born into the family (that's grace). They have all the rights and privileges of being a family member. But they don't immediately (or automatically) know how to live as a member according to the family values, rules, etc.
This is how it is when you become a member of God's family through faith in Christ: you have all the rights and privileges of being a member of the family, but you must now learn how to live as a son or daughter of God.
If a kid in an earthly family needs correction and discipline to learn the family values and rules, how much more do you and I need correction and discipline to learn to reflect our perfect heavenly Father?
What Needs Correcting
We may understand intellectually that sinful people would need correction by a holy God, but what exactly needs to be corrected?
The original sin is said to be pride. When God's prized creation, Adam and Eve, succumbed to Satan's temptation to defy God's one rule to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, sin burst onto the scene of human history.
At the root of pride is the desire to operate autonomously from our Creator. We live like the perpetual 2-year-old who wants her toys and no one else is allowed to touch them (completely unaware that all her sustenance and safety is graciously provided to her daily by her parents!).
If you and I are to live as God intended, our pride needs correction.
Wandering Eyes (Heart)
Often when God wanted to describe the unfaithfulness and disobedience of His people He would use the sexual metaphors of adultery or prostitution. He was portraying how the wandering eyes (and hearts) of His people was a deep and profound betrayal of His covenant love.
I think for most us it is easy to understand the pride issue; we can't deny how often we want to live our lives our way without regard for God and His ways. But the wandering eye, the wandering heart, is much more difficult to spot. Therefore, it can be more dangerous to our souls.
In our ministry, we deal a lot with wandering eyes as it relates to sexual lust. Rarely does a person wake up in the morning and say in their heart: "Today my entire goal is to commit sexual sin." Temptation is far more subtle than that!
The wandering occurs little-by-little throughout the day with a glance here or a click there. These little wanderings are setting us up for eventual unfaithfulness to and disobedience of the Lover of our soul.
If you and I are to live as God intended, our wandering eyes (and hearts) need correction.
Finally, what I am calling "worldliness" also needs correction. Worldliness is simply choosing to live with a secular worldview rather than a godly one. It is living from an earthly mindset rather than a heavenly mindset.
Worldliness may be even more subtle and dangerous than wandering eyes and hearts. You have probably heard the old "frog in boiling water" example.
It is said that if you put a frog in boiling water it will immediately jump away to safety because it is fully aware of the danger. But if you put that same frog in lukewarm water and slowly turn up the temperature it will cook to death.
Worldliness is the lukewarm water we learn to live in. But over time, the more comfortable one gets, the heat is slowly turned up. Eventually, there is little awareness at all that their life is ebbing away and their communion with God is all but gone.
If you and I are to live as God intended, our worldliness needs correction.
How to Love Correction
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates reproof (correction) is stupid.
When my kids were little they giggled at this verse because it has the "S" word in it: stupid!
I love God's sense of humor and His effective motivational tactics often seen in the wisdom sections of Scripture.
In this verse, God as our loving Father is saying to us, "My child, don't be stupid by stiffening your neck to the correction of Wisdom. Love the discipline and correction needed to live a life that reflects me well."
It is not enough that we simply "take our medicine" of correction and be "obedient little kids." No, to really embrace the fullness of God's correction, we must cultivate a love for His correction and discipline that leads to true life and freedom and peace.
Here are 4 keys to loving correction:
1. Admit Ignorance
A child doesn't intuitively know how to live as a member of their family. They must be taught. In other words, their ignorance must be corrected.
If we are to look and live more like Jesus, we must confess our ignorance. We need to admit that we don't know how to live like Him and we need His power to do so.
This kind of confession directly combats the pride that dwells deep within us. When pride rises up and declares we can do x-y-or-z on our own, we must confess our ignorance and humble ourselves before God, asking Him for wisdom and guidance by His Spirit within us.
When you and I admit ignorance, our pride is corrected and humility grows.
2. Pursue Wisdom from Others
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. -Proverbs 13:20
You don't have to be a Christian to know that wisdom isn't gained in a vacuum of isolation or independence. There is no such thing as a wise Lone Ranger (even the Lone Ranger had Tonto!).
We need wise people in our lives who can share their knowledge and point out our blind spots. Such mentors are more than mere guides, they become friends and confidants in whom we can trust. They mature us and help us grow into all that God designed us to be.
When you and I pursue wisdom from others, our independent thinking is corrected and authentic community is formed.
3. Be Grateful for Truth's Scalpel
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
In our human, sinful condition we like to keep secrets. We don't like sharing the thoughts or motives of our hearts that would make us look like the broken, sinful people we are. So we hide them.
But God's Word knows how to expose our secrets. It is a scalpel that is so precise it can discern not just our thoughts, but also our intentions. There is no hiding from the Truth.
We should be grateful that we can't hide from God. He knows us and loves us more than anyone. Therefore, to be "exposed" by Him is to be given an opportunity to change and grow as His children.
Shame and deceitfulness grow in secrecy. They gnaw away at your soul, convincing you that to expose the truth about your brokenness is the equivalent of death itself.
But God's Word doesn't do "surgery" on the secrets in your soul to destroy you. No, God's Word is the Truth that heals and liberates your soul from the grip of shame and lies. Thank God for the razor's edge of His Word.
When you and I are grateful for truth's scalpel, the deceitfulness of shame and lies is corrected and true freedom is realized.
4. Live a Teachable Life
The proud cannot be taught.
(Marinate on that thought for a minute.)
To be truly corrected requires that you be teachable. To be teachable means you are humble enough to know you don't know it all and eager enough to learn how God designed you to live best.
But teachability isn't contained in a classroom. A teachable spirit is one who puts knowledge to practice in everyday life. What you learn, you must do.
This is the goal of correction: maturing faithfulness to God in word and deed.
When you and I live a teachable life, our pride and wandering hearts and worldliness is corrected, and mature wisdom bears eternal fruit.
Don't stay proud. Discipline your wandering eyes. Reject the subtle simmering of worldliness.
Humble yourself before God and others. Praise God for His surgical Word. Stay on a lifelong growth mission to mature in faithful godliness.
If you would like help and encouragement on your journey to love correction, please contact us.