Just As and Every Effort

It’s easy to be kind to people who are kind to us, but it’s a challenge sometimes to be kind to those who don’t treat us so well. But God’s Word tells us to treat all kindly and, more importantly, to forgive each other JUST AS Christ forgave each of us. It’s also easy to hold a grudge and then justify it because the other person’s actions were reprehensible. Fortunately, Jesus does not hold grudges, and we are to follow His example. “Just as” means in the exact same way as Jesus did. He even asked God to forgive His tormentors, even as He was undergoing excruciating torment on the cross. I have never been lead to a cross and nailed there, but Jesus was, for me and for you. If He can forgive in those circumstances, I am certain that I should be able to forgive the petty things that others do to irritate me. Even the things that I give great weight to and decide that I am justified in not forgiving, God tells me that I’m to forgive all because that is what Jesus did.

In another version, the “make every effort” is translated as “pursue.” In my youth, I pursued good grades, making every effort to get straight A’s on every report card. I was single-minded and totally focused on that goal. God exhorts us to make that kind of effort in living in peace with everyone. We are to show that we are holy, that is “set apart”, from what the world is doing and how they behave. Those who are pursuing peace should definitely be seen as different in this world of cultural wars.

Have a blessed day and remember to forgive “just as” Jesus did and to pursue peace with all. Your life will be better for it!

Thankful to Be Disciplined

If anyone had asked me when I was a child if I was thankful for being disciplined, my immediate response would have been, “Of course not! It hurts!” But nowadays, I am thankful for God’s discipline because it shows me how much He loves me and wants me to be more like Him.

When God stops me in my tracks and gently chides me and disciplines me, I am not always happy at the time. But when I reflect back on the chastisement of the Lord, I always realize that it was for my good and because He sincerely loves me.

My parents, especially my mom, hardly ever convinced me that her discipline was from a heart of love. However, God has me completely captivated by His love, which includes His discipline. He loves me enough to discipline me, to make me more and more His disciple, so that I can share in His holiness. I am not perfect and have not arrived yet. I would not be walking on the earth still if that were true. Thus, God disciplines me and gets me back on the narrow path towards holiness so that I am pleasing to Him and being the witness He desires me to be for Him.

I cannot say whether I have always experienced a harvest of righteousness following God’s disciplinary action, but I can say that in my heart and soul, I feel closer to God and more ready to take on the next challenge in my life. I don’t cower away from God’s discipline but rather I welcome it as a part of my necessary growth and maturity as a Christian.

May you be blessed with the understanding that God’s discipline is always for your good and will always result in your becoming more like He wants you to be.