Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. – Rev 3:19
Often the sternness of Christ is overlooked, perhaps in an attempt to tone down the message of the Messiah so as to appear ‘politically correct’ and to fit in with society’s expectations. Repentance is rarely spoken of, rebuke forgotten, discipline a word for fundamentalists. Rather, let us hear only of Christ’s love and blessings.
Recently I learnt of a man named Buck Brannaman. A horse trainer who had been nicknamed the ‘horse whisperer’. His ability to connect with horses, especially rebellious ones, seemed almost miraculous. Yet this man was no whimsical mystic. This was a man of self-discipline and courage. During an interview he stated ‘you don’t make a good horse by continually giving it sugar cubes and carrots. That gives you nothing more than a spoilt, unruly selfish horse’. Wisely he viewed humans as no different.
God disciplines those he loves. He utilises suffering to create character, and if need be, He rebukes to bring repentance. Read all the prophets of the Old Testament and you will see how much God rebukes those who continually ignore his message. Thinking Christ is nothing more than a benevolent God that is here to bless us and make life easy is an immature faith that has never understood the complexities of God as presented in the Bible in its entirety. Christ is no different. Nowhere in the Bible is this clearer than in the messages to the seven churches of Revelation.
Much of Revelation remains a mystery to most, no less to this writer, yet the passages concerning the seven churches are readily agreed upon by most theologians. They contain warnings, rebukes and threats to God’s people. Reward and encouragement is offered, yet only to those that heed the message and reflect their faith by their repentance and subsequent deeds. Hence Christ’s repeated statement “I know your deeds”. In other words, I know what you are doing, not simply what you are believing.
When hardship, struggles and suffering comes your way – stop blaming the devil (as Adam did) and falling into the trap of self-righteousness. Remaining completely oblivious to God’s discipline and rebuke. If indeed God is disciplining you – true repentance will bring you closer to God than ever before.
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.