Friday, July 19, 2019

So, what's your response?

"Christlike communications are expressions of affection and not anger, truth and not fabrication, compassion and not contention, respect and not ridicule, counsel and not criticism, correction and not condemnation. They are spoken with clarity and not with confusion. They may be tender or they may be tough, but they must always be tempered." (L. Lionel Kendrick) Very good instruction from Mr. Kendrick, is it not? I think he was not only reminding us of the necessity of correction, but of the equal necessity of kindness and grace in the midst of it!

If you love learning, you love the discipline that goes with it— how shortsighted to refuse correction!
(Proverbs 12:1)

I have a mind that works almost all the time - finding myself awake in the night hours mulling over ideas, creating "fixes" to something that is need of my attention at work or at home, or even working out the solution to a word puzzle that has been 'holding me captive'. I have had friends ask me if I ever just 'shut-off' and chill. I guess that I'd have to say that I do, but it is just like taking a dimmer switch and turning down the "intensity" a little rather than a complete 'shut down' of my mind! There is a little "test" we sometimes go through to be able to tell if we really love being a disciple of Christ. It is the test that really sees if we love learning? The idea is that their will be 'evidence' in our lives that we do love learning.

Never forget that to love learning one must love the discipline and correction that goes with it! Our commitment to being a disciple of Christ is most often revealed in the attitude we take toward correction. Isn't it just like Jesus to go "meddling a little" in our minds and hearts until he really helps us see where it is we need the most help? Jesus wants us to equate his discipline (correction) with his love. God's discipline embraces us - it never drives us away. His discipline guides us - it does not make unrealistic demands of us. His discipline is meant for correction - not to diminish us or release his anger in outbursts of emotion.

The discipline of discipleship begins with a change of mindset and heart-set. As we begin to step out in obedient trust, we begin to realize that God intends for "good" to be the outcome of our steps. We begin to encounter things in our past that affect the way we think and act in our present. We call this "awareness". We begin to sense that the "old way" of responding, the "practiced" way of responding, to things that life sends our way may not always be the desired way to handle them. The tendency to get caught up in office gossip may be an alluring part of our past. As we begin to grow in Christ, that tendency to gossip brings with it a little "twinge" of guilt (a feeling that something is not quite right). The more we spend time with Jesus, the more we become aware that this "habit" of our past is not to be the "pattern" of our present.

Our mind is being challenged to think differently and our heart is being softened by the presence of the Spirit of God within us. As this occurs, we begin to associate the "twinges of guilt" with loving urges to not engage in those things that God declares to be sinful, unwise for our lives, or simply just not wholesome. As our love for Jesus' best in our lives grows, so does our desire to respond to his corrective leading. If you really want to "test" if you are growing in Christ, you simply have to look at how you are responding to his correction! Just sayin!