Where Does Real Courage Come From?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Those Whom I Love (Reflections on Revelation 3:19 - Part 5)

Why is hearing God hard to do?

The Lord once said, “I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices” (Isa 65:2). Doesn’t this perfectly describe the Laodiceans?

They acted like rebels – like they didn’t know Him. Boasting does that to us. Our arrogance blinds us to God. It deafens our ears so we can’t hear Him say: “you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” Nor can we hear His counsel to get medicine for our eyes, clothing for our souls, and riches from His kingdom.

What will it take to hear His voice again?

Isn’t it surprising Jesus didn’t treat them as rebels? He spoke to them as if they were members of His own family. He used language already found in the Bible. It’s the language of parents speaking to their children.

“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline…”

These same words are found in the letter to the Hebrews. It’s here we learn: “When the Lord disciplines us, “He’s treating you as dear children” (Heb 12:7 MSG). If He didn’t discipline us, we’d be considered “illegitimate” and “not really his children at all” (Heb 12:8 NLT).

Again, we find these words in Proverbs 3:12. Parents (see Prov 1:8) are teaching their children: “Don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights” (3:12 NLT).

This is our God: He loves us. We are His children. It’s why He disciplines us.

But to hear His discipline, our heart needs to be right. For this reason, just before Proverbs 3:12, we’re told how to do that. We’re to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil…” (Prov 3:5-7).

This means no more trusting in ourselves. No more boasting. No more saying, “I need nothing.” If we’re going to hear Him, we’ve got to “acknowledge” Him with all we are, all we do, all we say. Today and every day.

But there He is – our Lord -- standing outside the door of the Laodicean church. Does this fact alone concern them? Does it ignite their zeal to repent of their sin, their boasting, their double life, their self-exaltation, and put their trust in Him again?

But can they hear Him? Can we? Are the sounds all around us – in culture, in the church, even our own hearts – too loud for us to hear His voice speaking truth to us.

He loves us. We are His children. It’s why He’s disciplines us.

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John 15:1-11, the Vine and the branches. "Is He everything to you?