What Did You Do?
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it”.
– Hebrews 12:11
Throughout the Books of Law in the Old Testament, we are reminded of the Israelites’ frequent acts of disobedience despite the mighty miracles they had seen God perform. Time and again they fell into disobedience, then made restoration. Often times, we are the same. We draw close to God in seasons of trouble, but when things are going smoothly, we have a tendency to go back to our old ways not relying upon the Lord. I am reminded of a particular time in my life where the discipline seemed unpleasant but was necessary to teach me the way I needed to conduct myself at home.
My brothers and I got into a fight. Normally my younger brother, Steve, and I would gang up on my older brother, Tracy because he was a lot tougher than us. I remember Tracy was on Steve, holding him down fighting with him. I picked up a broom and hit Tracy across his back — big mistake! After that, I remember being kneed in the back repeatedly. I somehow got away from him and Steve and I ran down the hallway. Now Tracy was always pretty skilled at about anything that he would try and that day he decided to throw the broom at us like a spear. As Steve and I reached the end of the hallway into the bedroom, we quickly shut the bedroom door to escape the flying broom. As the door shut, the broom handle came straight through the hollow core door. The fight was over, and we panicked! We thought for a moment on what to do because this bedroom door was right next to our parents’ bedroom door. We decided to remove the bedroom door with the hole and change it out with a door from one of the upstairs bedrooms. We managed to get the door changed and were relieved until we shut the door. It just happened to be two inches in width smaller than the original door that had the gaping hole! We were pretty deflated and about that time we heard my dad pull in the driveway. My brothers and I went and sat down in the living room. My dad walked into the house and saw us all sitting there. He immediately said, “What did you do”?! We told him, and I remember him having us lie down on the floor side-by-side. I remember the sound of his belt coming off, and of course, we got a spanking.
The Israelites, less than 40 days after having pledged to keep the Law which God had given to them from Mt. Sinai, broke it by their worship of the golden calf, which Aaron made at their urging (Exodus 32:1-6). God was so angered by their reveling and immorality that He threatened to wipe the entire nation out, replacing it with a new nation from the offspring of Moses (Exodus 32:7-10). Moses petitioned God to spare the people so that He might fulfill His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and thus God allowed the people to live (32:11-14).
I am not saying that God is threatening to destroy us, but I do think He is using this current situation to get our attention – to stop putting ourselves, other people, material things, or just the distractions of life as the center of our attention. Instead, we need to draw our gaze back to Jesus. Just like the Israelites, we can quickly get distracted, become busy, and inadvertently make our obligations and celebrations the focus of our attention. We gradually become self-centered instead of Jesus-centered.
In the same way, my brothers and I had lost sight of what was expected from us, and in turn, suffered consequences for our behavior. In this case, it was a spanking, but oftentimes, as we got older, we were grounded from participating in fun things. Right now, some of the fun things we took for granted such as sports, eating out with friends, shopping, coffee with a friend, school, worshiping collectively, and more, are limited or non-existent. We are now left to reflect on what truly is important. Hopefully, you are taking this opportunity to slow down and take advantage of this time building your relationship with Christ. You can do this through daily quiet times, reading through the Bible, searching and seeking the Lord in every aspect of your life, and building lasting relationships and memories with your family.
Sometimes we tend to only call on Jesus when the time is “right” which eventually leads to a life and heart full of holes, as challenges and pressures nibble away at our joy and peace. It’s one thing to believe in Jesus, but another to make Him the center of our lives. So, when life eventually gets back to “normal,” will you go back to your old normal habits of succumbing to the distractions of life? Or will you continue to make the important choice to focus on Him daily and be thankful in all things to keep your heart and life in balance and be obedient?
Lord God, I come to you today asking You to help me to continue to draw close to you. To keep my eyes on You and seek Your will for my life. In Jesus name! Amen
Senior Adult Pastor
First Baptist Broken Arrow | Community Baptist Coweta