“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 ESV
I, for the first time in my life, really felt like a child of God.
Funny thing, it wasn’t at some jacked up church service. It wasn’t at an all-night prayer service. It wasn’t during some devotional time when God’s word felt it was speaking right to me.
It was after the bomb went off in my life and I got crushed. Crushed by the consequences that played out from My Own Sin.
I had taken advantage of God. Taken advantage of his blessing. Of his love. Of his patience. I was an Entitled Disciple.
So now here I was with my head ringing and stressed beyond being sensible. Work failure. Social implosion. Financial hardship. A man in classic failure mode.
When adversity confronts us it’s so easy to hide. Hide in bad choices. Hide by blaming others. Hide by making excuses. Hiding makes things worse.
It is not Christ-like. It is not being a Man. It is not being a Warrior. It’s being a freakin’ wuss. Good thing for us, God specializes in having grace for repentant wusses. He works as a craftsman in giving men a ground-up rebuild to be used for His glory.
There is a bible verse that I hold tightly now, that makes me feel more loved than any other,
“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.”
Hebrews 12:5-6 ESV
Fathers Discipline. Fathers Love.
There is two things that I have learned through this. Fathers should discipline there sons when they need it, and give them unearned love when they don’t deserve it. I was getting both.
God had allowed my careless handling of my faith, and sinful behavior to come full circle and bite me in the rear. He didn’t do this out of hate. He did it out of love and not wanting me to destroy myself or my family.
I made the bad decisions and He allowed the consequences to happen . That’s Discipline and Love. A two for one deal.
God didn’t stop there with me. While I was having thoughts like, “God, you got the wrong guy. I am just not good enough for this,” something very clear was impressed upon me. “Your right. Your not. But I am.”
Thats where the love comes in. That’s where strength comes in. When we confess our sins, God is so willing to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He becomes our strength.
With me, he started a change with one verse. Then another. Building brick upon brick.
Was it painfully slow? Absolutely. God forgives us eternally but the temporal consequences of sin seem to hang around. And that’s a good thing for us.
Remembering the result of sin and the Need of a Savior is something no believer wants to take advantage of. I did. And it hurt. Bad.
God hasn’t fixed everything up. He continues to allow different struggles. But I know I have a father that uses hardship to harden me and build my trust in Him. Trustworthiness begets love.
I don’t want faith just when times are good. I want it when Stuff Hits The Fan. When life’s bad and ugly. Faith is measured by the strain it’s put under.
Being a child of God isn’t easy. Never was supposed to be. Ask Jesus. Ask Paul. Ask Peter. It brings Suffering. But suffering can bring joy when we understand the outcome of it. The really cool part is….
Our greatest opportunites for growth come from the challenges we don’t get to pick.
For mine, I am thankful.
Trust God that He is using them for HIS GLORY and YOUR SALVATION.