75: TRIAL – EMBRACING DISCIPLINE FROM GOD: The psalmist writes, “I know, O Lord,
that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.” This is hard verse to accept: Accountability from God. I would love to resolve to have everything go easy for me this year and to have nobody get on my case when I mess up. I am a person that loves to do what I want to do. I’m a creature of comfort, and breaking my resolutions is more comfortable in the short run than dealing with them.
The point of verse 75 is that God disciplines us so that we will be people of resolution who are able to follow after his ways because he knows that what’s best for us is to live according to his ways. God afflicts us and gives us hardship sometimes so that we can understand who we were created to be and how we were created to live. If I’ve developed a bad habit because I’m serving myself, God will bring situations or difficulty into my life in order to give me the opportunity to live the right way. I may not like it, but in the Lord’s faithfulness, I must learn to understand his commands and embrace his discipline.
The reason everybody in the world is upset with Tiger Woods right now is because he seemed like a person of discipline who had uncanny control over his life. Yet we have discovered that he certainly lacked discipline. Gillette, Accenture, AT&T, and almost the whole rest of the world is disappointed in him. I’m sure he doesn’t like it, but you know what, he has a real opportunity to have his life remade for good. He has a real chance to learn right now how to live more and more according to the way God created him to live. He’s in trouble. But through the affliction of this period in his life, I pray he will turn to God more and more, that he will better understand God’s faithfulness, and that he will learn to live according to God’s ways. And before you jump on his case too much, you must admit, just as the writer of this psalm admitted, that we are all sheep who have gone astray. The same principle of discipline is true for each one of us. If you are messing it up by messing in sin, God will discipline you because he is faithful to you and to his plan for you. And if you aren’t willing to learn in the discipline, then your
resolutions are going to fail. There can be no success without enduring through trial.
Romans 5 says that we rejoice in our sufferings; isn’t that crazy? It says that suffering produces
perseverance; perseverance produces character, and character produces hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Most of our New Year’s resolutions fail because we lack the necessary self-discipline and we reject the divine-discipline from God. We want to be new but we don’t want to go through the refining fire. But to reject God’s faithfulness in discipline is to reject his accountability in our lives. Proverbs 3:11 says, “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” And this moves us to an incredible core truth:
(series continued tomorrow…)