The Way We Receive Correction Determines Our Future
No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Hebrews 12:11, NLT
No one likes to be corrected, chastened or disciplined—it's no fun at all! However, every wise person knows that correction is necessary and important if we are ever going to reach our greatest God-given potential.
The writer of Hebrews had a lot to say about what and why God corrects and chastens us. Literally, the idea is one of training—not punishment. God trains—corrects, chastens and disciplines—us because He loves us. In fact, if God didn't correct us, it would be indicative that we were not His children. Like a good father, God trains His kids! The primary way God trains and corrects us is with His Word—and through the consequences that result from our decision to obey or disobey His Word. When we make bad choices, we face challenging consequences and are corrected so that we make better choices in the future.
Think about the topic of correction, chastening and disciplining as it relates to your own kids. Whenever we correct our kids it's for their benefit, right? We train them so they are safe and successful; we correct them as needed so they learn how to behave, drive safely, treat people, manage money and become successful in their God-given potential. How much more does our heavenly Father correct us with His loving motives!
The primary way God chastens us is through His Word. If we miss those signals, then the Lord will often bring correction to our lives through other human agents and their words—our parents, spouse, boss, teacher, policeman or other authorities in our lives. No matter who or how correction, chastening or discipline comes—we get to choose how we receive it.
One option is this: we can have a humble, teachable attitude, which receives God's correction. Another option is this: we can have a prideful, offended attitude, which rejects God's correction. Let's take a look at this important topic:
The Humble, Teachable Response: This is the best way to go. This is the wise person who receives a corrective rebuke because he or she sees the bigger picture. He realizes that his response to discipline will put him ahead in the long run and he has a desire to fulfill his destiny without any delays. This is the kind of person who responds with a "Yes, sir. Yes, ma'am… I am sorry… I will make that correction… I am here to serve… I'll do whatever it takes…." And, because of his teachable response, he moves ahead with the Lord. His willingness to be corrected allows God to give him grace, to open doors and promote him into His will for his life, year after year.
The Prideful, Offended Response: This is the route to avoid! This is the person who feels correction as a blow to her ego! Instead of recognizing the Lord in the midst of a chastening, her flesh rises up with a defensive posture: "How dare they… Who do they think they are… How could… What did I do to deserve…." And, this sets these types of people back. They are not thinking ahead and their knee-jerk reactions and responses cost them opportunities and options. They end up going 'round and 'round the same mulberry bush until they learn the lessons God was trying to teach them. Sadly, many people shipwreck God's plan for their lives at this point and sometimes it takes them years and even decades to get back on track with God's plan for their lives.
So, how do you handle correction? Do you receive it in an attitude of humility or do you resist it in an attitude of pride? If you've taken the wrong route and made knee-jerk reactions and ego-crushed responses to correction you've received, you can change today! It will take an intentional and dramatic act of humility on your part. It will require you to humble yourself before the Lord and make amends with the people God was using to bring discipline to your life. So, go ahead. Repent. Apologize. Ask the Lord to help you. Make heart adjustments. God is merciful and it's possible that the Lord can turn things around for you.
The way we handle correction determines our destiny—so let's do it the right way!
"Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you." (Proverbs 9:8, NIV)
Say It: “Father, I thank You for loving me enough to chasten, correct and discipline me. I know You are training me because I am Your child and You have my best interests in mind. Today, I choose to respond to correction with a humble, teachable heart. Lord, I repent for having had a prideful, offended attitude in the past. I ask You to help me make amends where needed and I trust You to direct my future into Your best plan. In Jesus' Name. Amen.”
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