Hebrews 12:5-11 “And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him, For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.’ It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
In a nutshell, the second law of thermodynamics tells us that all things are moving from order to chaos; all processes have a tendency towards decay and disintegration. As I think on this idea I don’t have to look far to find examples of things moving towards disintegration. A quick glance at the worn carpet beneath my feet gives heed to this scientific law. The chipped paint on our v
an, the stack of junk in the garage, and my inability to jog a mile all affirm this principle. Common cliches such as “Use it or lose it” also come to mind.
This is not only true for our physical world, but also
in our spiritual walk. When I neglect to exercise, my muscles weaken. When we neglect our spiritual walk,
putting Bible study, prayer, and fellowship on the back burner, our spiritual muscle weakens and we find ourselves rapidly approaching chaos.
A.W. Tozer in his book, From the Grave, puts it this way: The neglected heart will soon be a heart overrun with worldly thoughts. The neglected life will soon become a moral chaos.
We must take heed and do as John 15:4-5 tells us: Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Spend some time abiding in Christ today. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Neglect not your heart lest it become overrun with worldliness.
This weekend I had the honor and privilege of speaking at a women’s retreat. I shared a couple of my short stories and received a great deal of positive feedback. As I pondered the gracious words of so many women and the encouragement to “write a book” it occurred to me that somewhere along the line I stopped writing. This blog has been neglected far too long. It’s time to jump back in the pool of words.
Just a few days ago, I had a conversation with someone who has gone through years of struggle. He’s prayed and sought God’s healing over and over again. He’s witnessed the healing and countless victories of other brothers and sisters in Christ, but for him it’s elusive. He often prays these words from Psalm 25:16-18: Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins. And yet, he remains in a broken state of disrepair. After 18 years of constant illness, doctor’s appointments, surgeries, and medications, he’s worn down, tired, and wonders where God is in all of it. What does one say to a person in this state? I just listened and made a few feeble attempts at encouragement as my heart broke for him.
In the midst of our conversation he said, “I’m a Christian, why doesn’t God help me?” I understand why he feels this way, but I have to consider scripture in the matter. Psalm 34:19 tell us: Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. We will have afflictions. They will be many. But there is hope. God will deliver us. When? I don’t know. I’ve seen some receive instantaneous healing. Others are left struggling during their time on this Earth, but we have a promise of eternity with Jesus. We can cling to verses like Revelation 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. There is hope in that.