Bible Reference: Revelation 3:19
Translation: The Living Bible (TLB)
Bible Text: 19 I continually discipline and punish everyone I love; so I must punish you unless you turn from your indifference and become enthusiastic about the things of God.
OBSERVATION: I am reminded that discipline comes in many forms, and from almost every person in authority over us. Jesus (the Amen, as referenced in several translations) saw the need to say this to the church at Ladocia because they ‘sat on the fence’ – they were not hot, or cold. For they said they were servants of God, but they didn’t allow Him to be God in their own lives. Could God be bringing this to our attention today so that we may closely examine our own lives, and that of our own churches?
APPLICATION: From a very early age, good parents will discipline their children, as a way of stopping wrong doing, and guiding children towards the right way to act and do things. As children mature, they go to school and teachers are forced to instill discipline in their lives also. As young adults, they then find the need to test the systems outside of the home and school systems. So law enforcement and the courts come into play. Then they enter the work environment, where supervisors or managers take responsibility for guiding them as adults, and holding them accountable for their actions. Imagine what a parent will do if the young man who just landed a job, went home one evening and ignored everything his parents asked him to do around the home? In fact, all that he learned in growing up seemed to have drained out of the young man, for he is also ignoring his manners, respect and chores that were assigned to him. So the parents are looking at their son from birth, yet his attitude has changed into something they just can’t identify with. They want to love him, because of his ‘sonship’, yet they don’t want to reward unappreciated, rotten behavior with their precious love. In our Scripture, Jesus is looking at a church that He gave up His very life for, yet He is disappointed at their disregard for His teachings; their refusal to participate in a number of church meetings that were designed to grow Christians; their withdrawing from certain activities that particular families are a part of, because they just don’t like them. Imagine the lack of appreciation Jesus must feel, knowing that He loved the church so much that He freely gave up His life for their good, and for their victory in overcoming the world’s weaknesses, and living with the promise of eternal life in heaven with Jesus and His Father? Do you suppose that He would be tempted to spew them out of His mouth, and possibly start over with a new group that may show signs of hope? What kind of discipline do you feel might be most appropriate for a church such as I described? Do you feel that you would be one who is caught up in the worldly actions described, or one of the few that may be praying for God to help them clean up their mess and live righteously before a holy God? Friends, I would encourage you to look inward before criticizing the church at Laodicea, or trying to pin the actions I raised on certain individuals. Does Jesus see an individual with a clean and contrite heart, filled with His righteousness, and appreciative for all that Jesus did for the church, when He looks intently into your heart? Precious Lord, may it be so for myself, and for many who will read this devotional. Please teach us to alway seek the truths of Your Word, and to humbly obey Your teachings.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank You for giving wholeheartedly of Yourself so that we might be saved from the attractions of this world. Thank You for helping us to look with joy at the realization of heaven and the wonder of the King of all kings and Lord of all lords, welcoming us home as a ‘son’ or a ‘daughter’! Our hearts are overwhelmed with joy over the promise and expectation of this, as we patiently await Your return to take us home with You precious Lord. Please ‘jerk our chain’ as we lose sight of whose we are, so that we would never be tempted to stray away from the commands of our General – our Lord and Savior. Thank You Lord for loving us enough to bring us through this challenging world with our eyes fixed on You. Please help us to maintain ‘tunnel vision’, so that the things of this world will grow strangely dim, in the light of Your glory and grace! AMEN!