I realized last night while speaking with some undisciplined children that were showing no respect towards others —
That for some, if I stepped in and took the punishment for them, they would just smile bigger because they got away with it – and they would laugh harder with their friends because they got to watch someone else suffer. It would all seem so foolish to them. It would encourage them to grow even faster in the direction their hearts were already taking them.
Then I remembered that is exactly what I myself do each time that I choose to trade obedience and submission to God’s will to chase another temptation or worldly/ fleshly desire. But the gospel has a very different effect than encouraging sin when a heart that is no longer hardened is in place. That old, rotten fruit if rebellion is pruned and we are given a new heart – We are grafted into a new vine that produces something quite different in our lives. There is an appreciation, a grateful response that comes from the undeserved gift.
The Word of God is divisive. Those who resist it become harder and more distant and removed from God – and those who resist evil by faith are regenerated and are drawn closer to God – And the proud are destroyed and the humble are kept.
Almighty God in Heaven,
Our father who rules on high,
Forgive us our sins,
And help us to forgive others,
And to make amends with both
Those who we have wronged
And those who have wronged us.
Teach us to walk in your ways,
And to extend mercy and love –
Especially towards those who are seeking you,
But even towards those who do not yet believe.
Because one day every head will bow,
Every knee will bend, all men will fear,
they will declare the work of God,
And will consider what He has done.
Every tongue will confess that,
“Jesus Christ is Lord.”
Help us to not forget
The price at which we were bought,
Let us not forget the precious
Blood of the Lamb.
Let us not be deceived and double minded,
Making ourselves a friend of the world
And thereby an enemy of God.
But remember your people,
A hard headed and rebellious people
But a people who are humbled and broken by your Good News.
Remember your people,
Who by the guidance and teaching and leading
By your Holy Spirit can walk in the Way, the Truth, and the Life,
Set before us and proclaimed to us,
“Come and follow me.”
Thus says the Lord, so we follow.
Let our many failings
not be a stumbling block to others,
but an example and a warning,
And even a testimony as you overcome
Because yippy are greater.
May we become less and less
So that your glory might shine
Even in these clay vessels
You have breathed life into.
Thank you, Lord.
We praise your holy, righteous, mighty, and wonderful name, that name above all names, as we have been taught to pay in the name of our Savior, Lord, teacher, and friend, Jesus Christ. Amen.