Milestones On The Road To Discipline

My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.
–Jeremiah 2:13

The path to God’s discipline starts with an improper view of God–that is, not understanding His zero tolerance for sin. The second milestone on the road to discipline is an improper view of ourselves. That is, we believe that the good things that happen to us are the result of our good behavior, our hard work, or just plain luck rather than God. The Israelites made that mistake. In Deuteronomy 8:11-14, Moses warned, “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God . . . ; otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God.”

When our health is good, when the bank account is full, when work is going well, when our family is living in harmony–that is when we are most likely to say, “Who needs God?” David said in Psalm 119:67, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.” When David sinned with Bathsheba, everything in his kingdom was going well. It was only after he suffered the discipline of God that he started walking with God. I believe many times the reason God turns our world upside down is to remind us that we are wholly dependent upon Him.

Third, the path that leads to God’s discipline is marked by an improper view of others–that is, depending on other people or other things to fill the place in our hearts that God can only fill. That is the essence of idolatry. Idolatry is loving someone or something else more than we love God. In the book of Deuteronomy, you will notice there is one sin that God is certain to punish every time, and that is the sin of idolatry.

You might say, “Why is God so paranoid about sharing His glory with another? Is He that insecure?” You see, our jealousy is built on selfishness; God’s jealousy arises out of His loving nature. He knows that we will only truly be satisfied by Him. That is why He is jealous about anyone or anything else that attempts to replace Him in our lives. In Isaiah 12:3, God said, “You will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation.” When we instead seek to draw life from the empty and broken cisterns this world so readily offers, we assassinate the deep-seated joy God has for each of us. Nothing can fill that well in our hearts except God Himself. That is why it is so important that we abstain from looking to other people or other things to fill that God-shaped vacuum in our life.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “New Year . . . New Choices” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org

 

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