I remember when I was a child growing up in church….I always felt so judged. Growing up as a preacher’s kid, I felt like all eyes were on me….waiting for me to mess up. I remember, even as a teenager, being at the movies with my friends and getting pulled aside by church members who wanted to check on which movie I was seeing and it’s rating. So naturally, there was a time in my life where God and church just felt like a bunch of rules and regulations — and I longed to be free! I think that’s really how a lot of people move away from the things of God.
Things changed dramatically for me when I realized that life with God wasn’t about a bunch of rules and orders that put me in bondage and eliminated fun for me, but that the Bible is really a massive LOVE LETTER! God is a lover, not a hater.
Have you ever considered the motive behind God’s instructions? This brings to mind a time when I had to discipline my little niece (who I had determined not to discipline because my philosophy as the ‘fun auntie’ was to spoil and then send home for the parents to discipline.) I’ll never forget the day or the shock on my little niece’s face the first time I stepped out of ‘fun Auntie’ mode and disciplined her. Why did I do it? What led me to change my tactics? Simple. It was LOVE! My niece was repeatedly reaching for a hot stove. At that point, my choices became very clear to me: stop this child from burning her hand at the risk of her being upset with me or remain the ‘fun Auntie’ and let her hurt herself. My niece is so precious to me, so I chose to love her.
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. – Hebrews 12:6 KJV
I’ll say it again: God is a lover, not a hater. The wages of sin is still death. Choose life. When God communicates His desires concerning our lives and behavior, you best believe it’s to save you from the pain and drama that comes from living a life apart from God’s direction. You don’t have to learn everything from the school of hard knocks – that’s not God’s plan for you. He never intended for your life to be a series/collection of recovery times from bad decisions and consequences that you could have avoided. He’s got a much greater plan for you!
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; – 2 Timothy 4:3 KJV
Don’t fall into the trap so many are captive to in these last days — fair weather Christianity. So many people are only willing to hear God’s Word or give Him time when it makes them feel good. Yes, the gospel is the good news and the truth of God’s Word will make you free but let’s be real – that truth isn’t always going to be comfortable. Often times, reaping the full benefits of God means growth and change on your part. God is not a genie in a bottle. He is a holy God who loves His children.
God-directed change can be challenging but the rewards far exceed that cost. Let God love you! Let Him keep you from a lack luster life by trusting in His love and direction. He will never lead you astray. Don’t run from God’s instruction — run to His love and reap the benefits!
When is the last time you have felt challenged to go higher in God?