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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
“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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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)