A Correction Line: Correction and Discipline

God offers a correction line to bring both correction and discipline into our lives, realigning us to His intentions for us, while progressively bringing us to perfection.

Yesterday, I left home early for an appointment, allowing ample time to drop a package off for a friend who lived in the country. I thought I remembered the approximate distance and appropriate landmarks for each necessary turn. Perhaps my energetic off-tune singing and enthusiastic enjoyment of the open landscape influenced my obvious lack of concentration. Nonetheless, I soon entered unfamiliar territory. When I crossed the correction line, I knew I had missed the turning point and was heading further and further away from my intended destination.

You might ask, “What is a correction line?”

Simply put, a correction line marks the places where a north-south grid road jogs to correct for the northward convergence of meridians. In other words, they indicate minor corrections in direction to ensure a traveller always heads due north or south. If our world formed a perfect cube, rather than a sphere, such corrections would be unnecessary.

Correction LIne

I hope you see the parallel to where I’m leading with this blog. I want my life directed to the true spiritual north, focused and heading toward the heart and purposes of God. Often, however, I sway off course (sometimes slightly, sometimes severely) and need realignment. Thankfully, God offers just that. Unfortunately, it usually comes through His correction line called discipline.

A Sign of Love

May there be no misunderstanding; I never purposely seek His correction. Nonetheless, God’s discipline clearly demonstrates His love for me and all those who He identifies as His children.

“My child, 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.”
Proverbs 3:11,12

I often find it difficult to accept His discipline. It absolutely upsets me to realize how far from His ways I so easily wander. Afterward, I usually understand more clearly.

Of all the ways God reveals His love, I discover it most profound through the path of correction. I realize the graciousness of His love as I experience His discipline offered without shame or harshness. He corrects with a gentle invitation to adjust my course and realign myself with His heart and ways.

Road through Fog

Without God’s correction, I would continue aimlessly down a path dangerous to me and others. His correction line alerts me to my internal blind spots, resetting my course.

Rewards of Correction

God’s Word reveals the benefits of correction. First, it brings holiness, causing one to become more like the Heavenly Father. Second, it produces peacefulness in our lives — a peacefulness both internal and external, both with God and others.

“For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening — it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”
Hebrews 12:10-11

Some of the hardest lessons I’ve learned came through the painful road of discipline. Yet, beyond a doubt, lessons learned well and solidified in my life. God intends our ears to be willingly open to His continuous instruction, avoiding the more difficult path of later, more public, correction by others.

Country Road

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”
2 Timothy 3:16

The Greek word for correct used in Timothy also means “to set right again or to make straight — specifically to correct moral posture.”1 The Holy Spirit desires to activate His Word within us. He longs to be the Driver at the steering wheel constantly correcting the vehicle of our life down the highway of progressive growth and development — imperceptibly shifting and compensating to avoid our drifting toward the hazardous ditches of complacency and arrogance.

God Invites

The gentle whisper of God leading me through and around several correction lines continues to fill this current transitional season. For a few weeks, we were “homeless.” Shacked up in a hotel with every rhythm, normalcy, and busyness of life silently stripped away, I found myself uncomfortably face to face with nothing but God. Not visibly, but remarkably tangible. Prayer, Bible study, listening and waiting in His Presence occupied the majority of my days.

Repeatedly, He revealed hidden areas of off-centered thinking, misplaced motivation, hard-hearted attitudes, and self-centered agendas. He pointed out each ugly deformity with stunning clarity, but without condemnation. He simply invited me to see as He sees.

Though God can and will allow painful infliction and punishment to realign His loved ones, He chooses first to draw us with loving-awareness of our errors. Only when we refuse to listen will He then come with greater and greater force. He offers the choice to either listen and respond to His correction or to persist along a dangerous path.

Most people, including me, would consider my spiritual life stable and healthy. God leads us beyond comfortable stability to genuine and pure — to the more!

The church in Ephesus perhaps held the noted position of being one of the strongest New Testament churches. Yet, Paul wrote,

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”
Ephesians 1:17-19

Bends in Road

Supernaturally, God reveals hidden motivations. He leads through His correction line with wisdom, revelation, and enlightenment to His better way. Through discipline, the “eyes of my heart” open, leaving me amazed how I could miss something so obviously off-course in my life.

Embrace Correction

I struggle to fully rest in God’s Presence, receiving both encouragement and correction. But oh, my friend, what benefits result! May we each embrace whatever God reveals and offers to us.

“But consider the joy of those corrected by God! Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin.”
Job 5:17

As I encounter correction lines along the grid roads surrounding our city, I automatically reduce my speed, proceeding with confidence knowing I am heading in the right direction. Correction lines give me the assurance I’m traveling due north and release the freedom to enjoy the journey. This holds true of both my country drives and spiritual walk.

Each correction presents an opportunity to either welcome or reject His discipline. Joy accompanies the knowledge that God has better things ahead for those who yield to His leading.

Open Road

Whenever I allow God’s correction, I find Him nearer than I thought, more loving than I imagined, more gentle than I perceived, more holy, inviting, merciful, awesome, wondrous, and amazing than I hoped. Will you follow me through the open country of God’s gracious discipline, rejoicing in His great love and goodness through correction?

(1. The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament: p. 613)

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Expressing Thanks, “Thank You. Well Done!”

Expressings Thanks

I want to take a moment to say, “Thank you. Well done!” A fruitful, productive life requires effort, perseverance, and faithfulness, among a multitude of other qualities. Though our efforts don’t always produce the benefits hoped for, our attempts to follow Christ’s example have not gone unnoticed, either in Heaven or here on Earth.

A distinct vein of musical ability runs in my ancestry. For many of them, music flowed as easily as water running downhill. For me, however, it required much effort and dedication. Years ago, I had the privilege of being the accompanist for a choral group. My mother acknowledged the excellence of the performance with, “Well done! Your father would have been very proud.”

That simple and unexpected expression of gratitude caught my breath away. Something in me inexplicably broke. I loved my father deeply and desired to please him. The thought of him finding pleasure in my accomplishments, even years after his passing, touched a chord indefinably deep within me. It didn’t matter that I was decades old. Again, I felt like a child, known and loved by her father.

Romans 1:8

Today, I’m seizing this opportunity to express appreciation and gratitude for every kind word and gesture you have shown toward me and others.

Thank You

Paul articulated the Father’s heart so well.

“We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

I don’t know about you, but I often feel like I fall short of God’s desires for me. We live bombarded by put-downs, critical attitudes, and never-quite-enough expectations which often taint our perception of ourselves, God, and others.

Although I don’t personally know the vast majority of you, like Paul, I thank God “for all of you and continually mentioning you in (my) prayers.” What an honor to have you take time, stopping by to read these little God promptings. With sincere humility and gratitude, I thank God for you.

Philemon 1:4,5

God sees everything you do — “your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” He recognizes your effort and says, “Thank you. Well done!” Your example forms a powerful witness to others as they watch you set your goal, again and again, toward excellence in Christ.

Well Done

People don’t always notice, but God sees. He knows both your faith and faithfulness as you work to overcome an area of struggle, perform silent acts of service, offer gentle care to the vulnerable, or give sacrificially of your time, attention and resources. Well done, my friend. Thank you.

Paul wrote to the church in Colossae,

” . . . I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works in me.”
Colossians 1:29 NLT

Living for Christ often feels like real work and hard struggle, right? In one way or another, we are all working out our faith, struggling with everything in us, while leaning wholly on God to do the impossible through us. Like a mother giving birth, we endure the pains of labor because of our love for Him and each other. Jesus alone gives us all we need to endure.

Ephesians 1:15-16

God sees the weariness of our hearts. He understands how we’ve poured ourselves out without seeing tangible results. He looks upon us, not with disdain, but with deep compassion, and whispers, “Thank you. Well done!”

The Lord’s Delight

God works in you, through you, with you, and for you. He walks beside you each step of the way. He leads and empowers to live fully, bringing Him great pleasure.

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what please him.”
Philippians 2:13

May we each take a moment to rest and sense His pleasure, as our Father delighting in us, His children.

1 Timothy 2:1

” . . . the LORD’s delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love.”
Psalms 147:11 NLT

God doesn’t evaluate us like the world does. Rather, He measures us by our love and devotion to Him — our willingness to wait, hope, and trust in Him. Then, He encourages, “Thank you. Well done!”

Agreement

So today, let’s come into agreement with God’s assessment. Set aside the weariness of labor, the shame of failure, and the heaviness of defeat. God is pleased! What else matters?

Let’s give Him our best, allowing Him to do the rest! Like a little child, sink deep into the love of your Heavenly Father, feel the pleasure of His heart.

“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17

Numberss 6:24-26

That word “rejoice” literally means that God jumps with great joy, twirling and spinning as He triumphantly delights over His “kids.” What an incredible image of His extravagant pleasure in us! As we come into agreement with His great happiness over us, our response aligns with His,

“Sing . . . shout aloud . . . be glad and rejoice with all your heart . . . “
Zephaniah 3:14

For good reason, the Bible commands us to “be glad and rejoice.” When we do, we share in His over-flowing joy. Thank you. Well done!

Expressing Thanks

Finally, I want to be sure to give you my sincerest thanks. Every time you read these posts, share them with your friends, or offer comments, you bring tremendous encouragement to me. Your gracious support means more than simple words express.

In return, I faithfully pray for you and your nation. God knows your name, situation, and the circumstances you face. He loves you and believes in you, as He calls you to Himself. I join my voice with Him, “Thank you! Well done!”

1 Thessalonians 3:12

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